Yesterday I wrote about houses I’ve lived in – I was thinking about our next topic for our writing group, ‘Moving’; I wasn’t writing for the next gt together, just thinking about placed I’d lived in – which of course isn’t about moving at all but about living or dwelling. One thing which has happened to me, and I know has happened to other people as well, is the accumulation of things, the possessions which travel with you from place to place and are added to each time you settle into that new place. Some people are really good at getting rid of things, I’m afraid I’m a shocker at hanging onto things for what amounts to sentimental reasons, even though I might pretend it’s because of other things. Eventually of course, there will come a time when like it or not I/we will have to get rid of most of our possessions.
We do take bags and bags of things to charity shops, and I’ve started to discard other things which go to the dump – beyond being recycled. If I’m honest, there are so many things which I never use, or even look at, so why don’t I just get rid of them? I look along the window sill of my writing room; A few books, a couple of books to write in, some CDs, a very old leather needle case which may have belonged to my grandma when she was a child (will my son or daughter want it/need it./use it? No!!) A box of toothpicks, a box of cards, an empty picture frame, another CD, a mug in the shape of an octopus, a lidless jar full of paperclips, two memory sticks, two figures of Buddha, a block of wood – very small, a pretty little china cup and saucer and an empty white pepper pot. Why have I kept the empty white pepper pot? My dad bought it when it was full of white pepper, which he used particularly on boiled eggs; it was still half full when he died so I kept it and used it, finishing it and thinking of him every time I shook it over my boiled egg. It’s of no value, it probably only cost a couple of pounds if that, but I keep it.
When we went to Tasmania and stayed first of all in a rather splendid Travelodge (somewhat better than the UK ones) and then in various other accommodation, we obviously only had a couple of cases with us. We had a week in the Hobart Travelodge, then went on a tour round the island for about ten days, then back to the Travelodge where we stayed for almost a month. In that Travelodge we obviously had one double room with an ensuite shower and bathroom, a wardrobe, a hanging space/storage space, a little kitchen unit comprising small fridge, small food/crockery space and cutlery draw a sink and a microwave oven, a vanity unit, a wall-mounted TV, two bedside cupboards and a double bed with just enough space to walk round and get dressed without bumping into anything. So it was small and compact, a huge window and a lovely – no, a spectacular view!
We lived in this small room, making a simple breakfast, putting clothes away and shoes out of the way, our little but growing pile of books by our bed for those weeks. We were lucky that being in a hotel we had cleaners come in – and although I always made the bed, they remade it more neatly! We were in what might be called cramped accommodation, sitting and lying on the bed as there was only one armchair, we took our laundry down to the washing machines and dryer in the basement, and we were careful what we bought mindful of the weight restrictions when we flew home. We didn’t need the stuff we have here at home, we lived such a very simple life!
OK, it was on holiday, it wasn’t for ever, this wasn’t our home where we would spend maybe the rest of our lives, and we know we are fortunate with that temporary accommodation and our permanent home here. However, it gave me an insight into another way of living. Maybe I should channel Tasmania and reduce my list of what I consider necessities, maybe I should clear my windowsill of paperclips and CDs, and even the pretty little teacup and saucer. I’m not sure I’m ready to recycle the empty white pepper pot!