It’s a slow and difficult process for me to get rid of things. Some things I’m quite good at, some things I have to be stern with myself, somethings I know I’m hanging on to for no good reason except sentimentality. We just have so much stuff! I suppose I was brought up not to waste anything, that if there was any use still in something, any life left in it then hang on until it really was ready for the bin – and these days there’s a selection of ways to recycle even the tatties told thing before it has to go into the all purpose rubbish.
The thing I’m grieving over at the moment – and I haven’t even got rid of it yet, is what most people would call a pouffe and what we as children called a humpty. I guess humpty came from Humpty Dumpty, but why ours was called that I have no idea. It is one of those round ones with a fabric cover, a cord, round its middle so it has a shape. It used to be green with a geometric line design in yellow or gold thread. I’ve been looking at the names of different fabrics to see if I can work out what it was – maybe Ottoman? Who knew there were so many different fabrics? Most I have never heard of., Wikipedia lists 223 different fabrics, from Aertex and Alençon lace, to Zibeline and Zorbeez.
My parents had Humpty before I was born (notice i capitalise his name) and he may not even have been new when they got him. When people married just after the war they didn’t expect to have their own house or furnish where they lived with new things. My parents lived in a couple of furnished rented rooms which the landlady passed through to get to her kitchen so no privacy. In about 1950 they moved into a newly built flat, the bottom floor of a semi-detached house. It was built as a completely separate flat but it was owned by the dear old lady who lived upstairs.
Humpty was more than something to sit on or rest your feet on; Humpty was something my sister and I played with when we were little, he even came out in the garden, and ever after that he was always with us. At some point he became so shabby that mum recovered him in a tapestry sort of material. When we moved into our own house, when we moved to Somerset, when my parents died he moved in with us. My sister is disabled and when she was able to come home to visit, Humpty was useful for her to rest her leg on.
Now he sits in a corner and is never used. I don’t think he’s ever been used in fact, apart from my sister resting her leg on him. He’s very old, he’s lopsided, he’s sadly of no use, and now I think, as i try and rationalise our space, now is the time for Humpty to go. Ridiculous to be attached to an item of furniture, ridiculous even to have second thoughts about his disposal… I wonder if a charity shop might take him?
I don’t have a picture of Humpty so my featured image is our family at the seaside when we were children.