I have Volumes II, IV and VI of the 1883 edition of ‘The History of Freemasonry’ by R. F. Gould. I have Biology textbooks from the ’80s right up until the latest A2 OCR textbook. I have several textbooks from Edinburgh University’s medical department (courtesy of my grandfather, who graduated some time in the 1950s). Five litre glass cider jars from the 1800s are sitting next to paintings I found in the abandoned caravan in the back garden. A turn-of-the-century Indian table supports a record player that was once owned by the man who test-flew the first jet aircraft (again, courtesy of my grandparents).
In short, my room is full of crap. Not that I want to part with any of this stuff (except maybe the books on freemasonry). I am a hoarder. I get it from my mother. We have a barn next to the house that is a two-storey high space with three sections. Each section is at least 12’x10′. Each section is filled. One section contains every single cardboard box that my parents have collected over their 22 year marriage and simply not had the time to unpack. There are at least fifty, and they are stacked to the ceiling.
Part of the problem with me is that I love old things. I love the thrill of finding old stuff that no one else has seen for years. That’s why I love this house. Yes, the old owner left it in a complete state, and yes, he left most of his things behind; but that’s where the fun comes in! Whether it be an almost perfect-condition 1965 Sprite 400 caravan, or X-Ray viewing machines, or piles of books left in an old steamer trunk, there is always something to find.
I get bored very easily, and it’s when I get bored that I start to have panic attacks. My solution on this gap year is to task myself with completing projects that will keep me occupied for a long time.
First up on my list is to create a personal space at the bottom of the garden. I will eventually place the caravan down there, and fulfill a childhood dream of having a caravan of my very own, which I can use as an art studio. I will turn my hand to gardening, and I’m hoping I’ll get at least two-thirds of the way through creating a garden before I remember how crap I am at gardening (the only two plants I have ever managed to keep alive were glorified cacti).
The bottom of my garden is currently a mess of knee-high grass, brambles, thistles and tree roots. Also some horse poo, because I started a muckheap down there and have forgotten where I put it. Wish me luck!