I do not like to keep things in the attic. My parents’ attic is full of stuff. Mr. Waffle’s parents’ attic is full of stuff. He said that when he was growing up, broken things were put in the attic to “self-heal”. I know what he means. I have never been in the attic of my house and, as far as I know, it is entirely empty. And I’d like it to stay that way.
I love things to be tidy. Colleagues have been known to recoil when entering my office. It’s tidy. My family are not tidy. If you don’t give things away, you cannot be tidy. I am like a changeling. I have been trying, with absolutely no success, to make the Princess tidy. She suffers from the twin issues of loving stuff and believing that it is not a problem, if you let stuff lie where it falls. She and I fundamentally differ in this regard.
For some time she has been waging a campaign to get into my parents’ attic. I have been a regular visitor as I have been looking for the leg of a table, the top of which is at the back of my parents’ wardrobe and the whole of which I am hoping to get to my house in due course. You would think that a large Victorian table leg would be easy to find, but you would be utterly wrong. I looked – several times; my sister looked; even my brother looked. To no avail.
On this last adventure, the Princess finally got her heart’s desire and came up to the attic with me. Her objective was to retrieve my Great Uncle Dan’s gas mask [given out during the war and definitely in the attic – but where?]. I didn’t hold out high hopes as, if a whole table leg could disappear, then finding a gas mask was a practically insuperable problem. We did not find the gas mask. We did, however, find the table leg under the eaves on the left. Rejoice. Here’s a picture of the table leg [currently residing in the utility room until the top can be brought up from Cork].
I stood there in the attic looking at the mountains of stuff and I said to my daughter, severely “Look around you; this is what happens, if you never throw anything out.” Then, I realised that her eyes were shining and the attic was possibly the most magical place she had ever been. She brought back to Dublin: an old dial phone, a mug with a rose, two boxes and a china bowl with a hole in the bottom. She is desperate to get back up. I may not quite have conveyed to her the message I was hoping to get across.