I was clearing out my loft the other day. Now, as opening lines go, I know that this isn’t exactly “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” or “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife”, but hear me out, the story does get (a bit) more interesting than that.
The previous occupants of the house we have just bought had, as it turned out, left quite a lot of stuff behind in the attic. We were hoping to find a priceless Ming vase, or perhaps a suitcase full of unmarked, non-consecutive £20 notes, but we were, more realistically, expecting it to be all the crap they didn’t want but couldn’t be bothered to take to the tip. Indeed, it started out that way. Old Christmas decorations, worn out shoes, stacks of old bills. A box of CDs piqued my interest, but turned out to be mainly old Hed Kandi and Cream compilations.
Things got a bit more interesting from there though, first an old record player and mixer, suggesting at least one DJ in the house. Then we discovered the artworks, mainly in the field of subversive embroidery. For those of you unfamiliar with the genre, as indeed I was, this might consist of, for example, a traditional embroidered flowery scene, but with a slogan such as “29% of London’s schoolchildren carry a knife” stitched across it”. Perhaps strangest of all was the half-dozen ceramic guns.
As we uncovered more and more unusual items, we got a glimpse into the lives of this couple. Any previous opinions we held on them were not formed from much. A viewing of the house while they still lived here, some conversations with the neighbours (who were offering their opinions within moments of us moving in). I had snobbishley dismissed them as a pretty bland couple, but here was evidence of creative, interesting lives.
I should know better of course. People who only know me a little, perhaps in my working, accountancy life, might think me a fairly dull sort (and they could be right, I suppose). They would have no idea that I write, although I do try and crowbar it into conversations where I can, no idea that I spent much of my teens and twenties staying up till the early hours in techno clubs, no idea, in fact about any of the things that make me.
As I looked through the memorabilia of this couples’ life, I felt sad that they’d felt they had to leave this stuff behind. I know though,that they’d just had a baby themselves, so maybe these objects didn’t seem so important any more. I hope that wherever they are, and whoever they truly are, that they are enjoying the lives that I have seen just a glimpse of.