I have spent the last couple of days, in fact a good part of the last week, helping my daughter sort things.
First of all there was the painting. She wanted to freshen up the entrance hall of her house with a coat of paint. This is difficult to do on your own with a small baby and a daft dog to contend with at the same time. So I went along, we got everything organised and then decided that the best way to make a good start was for her to take baby and dog out for a walk while I did a good bit of painting.
This worked well until I found that the huge pot of paint, which had already been broached during another painting session, had kind of self-glued its lid shut. It soon became apparent that opening it was going to be a two-woman job so I called her and suggested she come back. In the meantime I would out masking tape all over the place. By the time she returned I had fought my way into the pot of paint. Sod's Law, I suppose.
However, the baby had gone to sleep, which meant that one distracting factor was out of the way. As for the daft dog , well, we shut him up on a bedroom, where he proceeded to bark all afternoon. The repainting was so effective that my daughter was inspired to attack other parts of the house during the evening. By then I had gone home but she recruited other family members - partner, older children, etc - to be dog distractors and babysitters.
The next job was the garage, still full of boxes of rubbish ... oops sorry, boxes of unsorted belongings from when they moved house about two years ago. To be fair to my daughter, she was completing a degree in education and then holding down a first teaching post and finally producing another offspring. She has been a bit busy.
The passing of time has, if anything, facilitated the sorting mechanism.
Stuff that an eleven year old and a thirteen year old view differently from when they were nine and eleven could more easily be sent off to a charity shop without an outcry about how cruel it was of their mother to expect them to live without those things.
Files of notes that had been essential to the education degree student could now be put into paper recycling without so much as a backward glance.
And suddenly there was space in the garage. Not enough space to fit a car in but then modern cars are so huge that they don't really fit into garages anyway. But there was definitely space to see what else was still there to be sorted.
The biggest problem is the vast collection of books. This is probably a genetic trait as we also are in permanent danger of disappearing under a pile of books of one kind or another. Some of my daughter's book will go to school with her when she resumes her teaching post at the end of her maternity leave. She plans to try to persuade her older offspring to part with some of the collections of books they acquired when they were smaller. I wish her luck with that!
Among the books were treasures: favourite storybooks from when she and her brother were six or eight years old, or maybe a bit younger. There has been a suggestion that I might take some of these treasures back to my house. Goodness! I thought I had seen the last of them when I passed them on to her! But they ARE treasures and cannot simply be discarded. Besides, I can see why she is plotting this. Some of the books belonged to her older brother, now living in distant Buckinghamshire with his own little family. It would be nice to set up a bookshelf here which his small daughter could dip into when they come to stay.
I just need someone to help me sort my books so that I can create that space!
Today's was a different sort of errand, involving a trip to IKEA to look at certain bargain items to replace bits of her furnishings that have been worn out, partly by a small boy who thinks that furniture is intended for him to practice parkour on!
I just had a minor disagreement with the spell check about the spelling of parkour, which I wanted to spell parcour as it comes from a French word, "parcourir", to run round / over / through. Here's part of a description of this "sport" which developed from military training: "Parkour involves seeing one's environment in a new way, and imagining the potential for navigating it by movement around, across, through, over and under its features". My grandson thinks that the sport also involves moving around, over or through furniture in the same way. Much to his disgust, it is banned in my house!
Anyway, we had a successful visit to the Scandinavian store and ended the day with a trip to the local rubbish dump to get rid of stuff we no longer wanted and that we thought nobody else could make use of either.
Quite a cathartic experience really!