My study, at the end of last year
As some as you may recall, my study has been an indescribable mess for months. This is due to having to move everything over one side of the room while the plumbers looked for leaks under the floor (there weren't any it was the other end of the house and is now dealt with). Anyway, everything was piled up in the middle of the floor and I couldn't get at anything but I couldn't face starting to tidy it. Last week I saw a TV programme called The Hoarders Next Door about people who lived in total chaos, with stuff covering every single surface. This picture shows about a quarter of the pile that had built up in the middle of the room. It was literally over six feet high. Somewhere under there is a rug and somewhere behind there is the view over the garden. I suddenly realised that my room looked like those of the awful people on TV and they needed a psychiatrist to deal with them!
I had to do something and I needed help!. The Old Bat decided that today was the day to start tidying! Now the Old Bat has many failings: not knowing left from right; total inability to navigate the car to anywhere (even if we have been going there every week for twenty years); total lack of interest in art, fiction (of any sort), cinema or music; thinking anyone who drinks alcohol is mentally ill and evil; hatred of eating fish, beef (because of the mad cow disease (er...)), onions, garlic, eggs, chorizo (what? The World Health Organisation food of the Gods!) and corned beef; cooking meat until it has the same texture as vulcanised rubber 'to kill the germs'; thinking eating out is a total waste of money; no understanding of history (I recently discovered that she had never heard of the English Civil War or the Wars of the Roses); an inability to remember anything that happened more than a week ago; taste in TV confined to the X-Factor, Britain's got Talent, Strictly or any programme featuring interior design or the Royal family); believing that women who have children shouldn't work; voting UKIP (and BNP once - she does not like foreigners); inability to use any form of IT, smartphone or even operate the TV etc etc. Anyway, despite all these strange aspects of her personality there is one thing she is really good at: cleaning! She loves to scrub! She once asked me for a Robert Dyas voucher for Christmas so she could get some Draino (really!). So she put dust sheets down in the lounge and we took everything out, she scrubbed, wiped and hoovered and we re-stacked it. It took eight hours. I also got rid of a whole lot of rubbish and identified a lot of stuff to go on eBay. One more hard day should make my room a bit easier to navigate around. I feel better!
My bedroom 35 years ago
One of the things she suggested was going through the 12 boxes of old photographs I had and getting rid of duplicates etc. This was a good idea as most of the photos I took were of buildings and landscapes and were quite repetitive. There were also an awful lot of my various girlfriends from the seventies and eighties which provoked comments such as "she wasn't attractive", "she was very short", "she obviously dyed her hair", "that wasn't even fashionable at the time", "my sister knew her and she was weird" etc, etc. Fortunately, all the 'interesting' Polaroids are stored elsewhere. But there were some pictures I kept and, of course, the pictures which were really uninteresting at the time (like pictures of my relations) are now fascinating and the ones I thought interesting (like 72 almost identical shots of Bodiam Castle) are now very boring. One of the pictures I found was this one, of my bedroom at my mother's house thirty five years ago. One thing it shows is that I was very tidy and organised (but also had a lot less stuff).
It is interesting (for me, not for you) to look at all the details in this picture I had forgotten about. In the corner are a lot of my drawings and paintings (a lot of Samurai), illustrations I did for various magazines, my college photo and some photos of my then girlfriend (these of course changed quite often during this period)
Below these is my record collection (pre-CD) and my Dual 504 turntable (everyone had a Dual 504) and my Mission 500 speakers (everyone had those too). The orange carpet is very seventies.
On the shelves you can just see a couple of my model soldiers. Both are French Napoleonic, (all I painted then) but one is 54mm and one is 75mm. Both were bought, I think, in a shop called Under Two Flags in St Christopher's Place off Oxford Street. Sadly it closed about eight or nine years ago. My mother bought me a metal 25mm Carthaginian war elephant in there for my birthday once, which was the first non- Napoleonic metal figure I ever had. So, I have just managed to get some figures into the post at the last minute!