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Yet another skip filled. We’ve lost count of how many we have filled since we started clearing out this house eighteen months or so ago. But this really is it: the house completes on Friday and we are out.  My father departed to a new home down the road a few years ago when my mother booted him for cavorting with multiple options. My mother has found a sweet cottage in a village across the fields and moves in Friday afternoon. The movers arrive tomorrow and spend the next two days packing everything up. God only knows how it will fit in. There is some serious downsizing to be done.

I’ve had to bite the bullet and pack up my last remaining possessions from the attic. Gritting my teeth, I shook out the bag with my childhood cuddly toys and put them in the skip, crying my eyes out. I kept Marmaduke the cat tho: he came away to boarding school with me, having been to boarding school with my mother in the 1950s. There are our Cash’s name tapes on each paw still.

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Gibbon also escaped the skip. I found him in a cupboard in my grandmother’s wardrobe in Spain after she died – I exclaimed, “Gibbon”, even tho I hadn’t seen him for twenty years – he was always perched on her sofa, and was Granny Spain’s toy at school.

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There’s also the Philip Somerville hat that my mother bought for lil’sis’ christening that is coming to London with me. (Oh these empty rooms pull at my heart strings – a van came this morning to take the furniture my father got in the divorce settlement)

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I’m also having these mugs from Granny  & Grandpa Horse. For as long as I can remember they were used for tea at their cottage. (I come from a very horse-y family on my mother’s side.)

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This has gone in the skip for obvious reasons. Taken at some point in the 80s, we always called it the Hamster Family photo. Feckin’ awful.

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And then there’s the badger that Grandpa Horse shot in Warwickshire in the 1930s. It always used to live on the loo cistern, where it gave drunken dinner party guests the fright of their lives when they looked up from their zippers. (Especially because the cat used to sleep on its back.) I think I might take it back to London and put it in my office.

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Meanwhile I just gave up on the idea of putting anything else AT ALL in my London flat, which is unpacked but in which I have still only spent 3 nights since moving in and haven’t got organised yet. So, with a sense of doom laden deja vu (I spent three years in New York intimately acquainted with Manhattan Mini Storage), I booked a space at StorageBase in Banbury today (highly recommend  – charming staff), and parked my childhood books (in our old school trunks), three bags of the NME from the 80s/90s, Paddington Bear, & Great Aunt Joan’s vintage hats in there until I work out what to do with them.

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12 comments

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Oh, this pulls at my heart strings too. Nothing worse than the echo of a voice in an empty room. I hope you give yourself time to rest, time to think about a stage in life gone – for good as well as bad – and then, well, I expect life won’t leave you to navel gaze. Good luck to you and your mum and sister!

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God I know exactly how you feel. My parents divorced 7 years ago and we had to sell up the family farm. Heart breaking, but so important to remember that it’s people that matter, not bricks and mortar. It sounds like your mum is getting the fresh start she needs. Onward ever onward x

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Good luck with unpacking and settling in! I’m facing the very unnerving task of beginning the move. First finding the perfect place to live… any tips? I’ve always lived just outside london, looking to move in – but I have NO idea where to begin! Good luck with it

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It’s a bittersweet time. You’ll encounter lovely memories. But…….it’s just a house. Your family is your family wherever it is. Tears = good. Moping = Not good*

*Did this with siblings from the family home a few years back after 25 years

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Sasha – I have followed your many moves and storage adventures over the past couple of years with a sense of awe. (I was far away when my mother moved out of my childhood home and all I have left a couple of fiction books and a few cookbooks. There was very little thought to family history.) I have loved how beautifully you have written of the clearing out and of your family’s history through the things you have found. Best wishes for your new flat and best wishes to your mother on her new life. (I hope she blogs again soon.) All the best for the next chapter of your lives.

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Oh no, poor you!! We are moving too at the moment – lorries have been here this morning and the rest will be done tomorrow. Good luck with unpacking everything, good for you that you’ve got help. Don’t despair! xx

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Ahh, moving is always such an emotional time, and particularly when it’s your childhood home. When we packed up ours, it was all such a blur after my mum died that I can’t even remember what happened to most of those childhood toys and books. (Speaking of childhood toys, my father in law ceremoniously made a rafted and floated all his childhood toys into the middle of Kensington round pond, and sunk them, when a teenager. How sad is that?)

I love the Hamster Family photo – you all look so 80s! You must hold on to it.

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your mum looks stunning in that 80s photo!

hope that there are beautiful times ahead of you- love the little mementos you have taken away from the home. x shayma

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Aw Sasha , its all so poignant.
When I left home at 18 my Dad was so angry that I was literally allowed to take what I could carry (very little as it turned out.)
They then cleared out everything that could have reminded me of my childhood, gave my room to one of my siblings and closed the door.

So when I’d read your latest “moving ” tale it moved me.
It may have been hard work all this clearing out but what I saw was the beautiful connection you and your family have with your past and closeness to each other.
Bittersweet yes, but sweet non the less. Jx

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Talking of sorting stuff I caught ‘My Hoarder Mum & Me’ yesterday on BBC1 – made me think perhaps the amount I have wasn’t too bad, or maybe I should tackle it in case it escalates to the same degree!

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