I got SO SIDETRACKED this morning.
We’re supposed to be getting ready for the car boot sale. Supposed to be sorting, clearing, feng- shuing, de-cluttering whatever you want to call it. I didn’t mean to get sidetracked. I thought I had my head in the right place. The determined place. The not susceptible to sidetracking place. The don’t get in Celia’s way mood. She’s determined.
We’ve had boxes stored in the roof space since we moved to France. That’s coming up 6 years now. They say if you haven’t used something for two years, you don’t need it. People write and sell de-cluttering books all about throwing away what you don’t need. They’re full of before and after pictures and it’s true that a simple tidying up can make a room look much more inviting. But I don’t want to be extreme. I would be ashamed of a cupboard like this one. Yes, ashamed. I wouldn’t want to let anybody see it. I hope the person who did this for his/her book made a lot of money. Because they must be lonely. I couldn’t live with a person who kept cupboards like that one.
However, there comes a time when one’s lackadaisical non-system of stock rotation of belongings is crying out for attention. So, here I was, this morning, ready to get at it. Ready for the fray. Determined.
And the track forked in so many directions I didn’t know which way to run first. Oh, the lovely things I found in those dusty boxes. Inside a box, inside a box, inside another box, I found one of the joys of one of my former lives. Sheet music.
I rushed straight to YouTube with it. Found recordings of it and sang along, remembering all those times I’d sung it before. What was more, it was the ideal choice for our upcoming social evening with other choir members. We’ve had Burns night as posted here in January. There’s always a celebration on St Patrick’s Day, too, but this year, for the first time, we’re having an English night on St George’s Day. A group has got together to give us a bit of Gilbert and Sullivan. I’m not a fan of G&S, but offered to find something else. And here it is! My Dearest Dear.
Now, I know Ivor Novello was born a Davies baby in Cardiff, but aren’t his songs the absolute epitome of English musical theatre of the 1930s? And isn’t the 1930s my absolute fave era? And haven’t I got just the thing to wear, darling? Because what did I find in another box while I was supposed to be throwing things away?
I used to paint on silk scarves and sell them at craft outlets. I kept a few for myself. So, here I am now, singing My Dearest Dear, with a 1930s Clarice Cliff-ish design silk scarf around my neck and I haven’t thrown one thing away yet.
But wait. What’s this old briefcase? Was that thing ever mine? And what’s this poor scrap?
Ah! Celia, hold on to your sense of reality, girl. Stay with me. In the here and now.
Walsingham Matilda, my first novel, lovingly unpublished and reclining on a memory stick with other unpublished gems. Walsingham Matilda, the 140,000 word family saga that starts in Yorkshire and comes all the way back again, seventy five years later via Norfolk and Sydney, Australia.
Awwww! Bless! A quick scan teaches me how much the story changed from that first outline and I wonder, afresh, whether I might have been better sticking with the original plan. My stories GROW so. Oh, they grow.
And now, here’s himself coming through the door, looking for lunch.
‘What you got there?’ he says.
‘Memories,’ I tell him.
‘Am I in them?’
‘No, darling. It’s before you and me.
”What’s for lunch?’
It’s time to put the memories away. I’ll return to de-cluttering after lunch. Eventually, we will be ready to do a car boot sale, but It isn’t going to be the one this weekend.