I’m here listening to Cat Stevens and buying a self-assemble white bookcase. The Cat Stevens bit just means his song happens to be on right now from a list of my top played tunes in 2021. Apparently. The self assemble thingy does bother me somewhat, me being a woman who never has the right specs on to read instructions, and even if she did she probably wouldn’t. No matter, I can fret about that when the flat pack arrives. And, why is it arriving at all? Ah, good question.
Today, after decades of longing to be rid of ‘Family Furniture Angst’ my antiques whiz came to the island. He has been before, many times, with his fabulous sidekick, straight from the Barras in Glasgow, a man I miss for all his stories, his deals in wild island. places where the pickings were always good. Sadly, that wheeler dealer is dead now and very probably confusing God with his eagle eye and his sharp wit. RIP Peter. Anyway, back to this day. Well I was all of a confucious. I could not settle from 5 am onforth. I had to find all the things this trusted valuer would want to see, the bits, the endless religious bits and the bobs that have travelled through the generations of my husband’s family since Queen Victoria reigned in her starchy widow weeds. And, the big ass mahogany trip ups, such as an escritoire (?) and a something else wood replica Queen Anne dresser which took my antiques whizz and the welcoming help of my neighbour to harrumph down the winding stairs, avoiding the fixation of a chairlift, one, it seems, I am obliged to retain for 7 years after the death of the dead one.
He arrived in the onset of rain, which, just to say, is most of the time. You have to love West Island life or you drown, and if you do, chances are you will wash up in the outer isles somewhere Middlemarch and in February when no-one’s looking so don’t bother. Way too wet and cold. I remember him, the way he dresses, the flamboyance, no matter the rain. His smile went right through me. What on the earthly earth was I fretting about? Not him, no. It was, it was, my need to be perfect, not to hold anyone up, not to be lacking. Good lord! Hallo Me. Moving on, he came, his eye sharp and seeing. He has many many years around antiques, or anything of value. As I showed him the Family Antique Angst pieces, he nodded. I know them, he said, and, of course, he did but I was not able to move them on until the man was dead.
It felt like a betrayal, over a poached egg breakfast, in the dark, waiting for the light, looking for it. It’s late again. Light is always late in the winter. As the morning rolled out like a geriatric snail, I went from room to room, touching, moving, packing, lifting, learning my limitations and ps btw I am so not into them. I used to be jaunty on stairs, even with fifteen children hanging on to me. I was all deer legs and gymnast. Something changed and that something, if I ever find it, might just regret messing with me. Moving on. My neighbour, strong young man, helped with the big stuff and we did the rest. I see the cobwebs, decades old, hovering like stories all told out. I see the space created. Space. I always longed for it but the Family Antiques Angst is like a corralling of generations, or it was., blocking out space, confining it, darkening it. I know that he who is dead had no information at all about these big dark crow threatening pieces. So why are we keeping them? He shrugged but held firm. Hence my breakfast sense of betrayal. I honour it, that feeling. It is respect for the the respect of he who is dead.
But now, I am working beyond cobwebs, through space and into a white self assemble bookcase. God help me.