This is Sarah Gardiner. A Victorian delight sent to an asylum for suffering from anxiety, I believe.
Poor thing, bless her, I wonder if she too at some point, faced the anxiety of moving house? For me, again, the anxiety levels are up there with naked swimmer from ‘Jaws’ at the moment, but she remains calm, as Sarah seemed to be, in the face of adversity, moving, and dealing with, amongst other things, the Garage. An Ogre for sure.
A little background c’est nécessaire mon amies, in the way of an explanation. When the flat was bought, number 16, I assumed (never assume) that our garage was also, number 16. A slim, yet easily accessible delight – but no, we were sent marching to number 18. A garage … to be debated, but sort of in the corner that would take a tricycle about twenty attempts to enter. No problem, no-one in London uses a garage for the purpose of a car, it is the ‘other room.’ The storage, toss in all unloved, debris cemetery and hallows of memories. No light, no window and no chance of seeing the back wall.
Things go to die in the garage. They breathe with difficulty in the damp (we have a rivulet of constant water running through the centre of the roof) and all so, rather than call it a garage, per say, it should be called a swamp. But no matter, plastic covering, plastic tubs and plastic everything prevails. Best attempts awarded.
Best avoided lest we seek the soggy suitcase, you know the one where the name tag ink has run and it could end up in Calcutta – yeah, that one. But time, dear time, comes close. After ten years the garage needs clearing and dear Lord, I need a drink, some Valium and a pretty white mask over the mouth. The swamp, like those old graves in Parisian cemeteries, needs clearing for the next bodies.
Part of the process is finding stuff you had quite forgotten. Not like money, but twenty thousand pieces of paper dating back five years: bank statements, accounts, reports etc. Some need careful shredding and for lack of shredder, about two hours of finger tearing whilst sitting on very hard tar where the stones drive themselves into your butt. Then there is the Persian, once admired and stored, now home to moths and eggs – off you go, she says choking ever so slightly. The dresser once loved and too big, now a pregnant, swollen mass with drawers thicker than Brexit. Ugh, not even attempting to find out what’s inside, bugger and to hell with it. There is a bicycle pump and helmet, but no bicycle (long stolen) musty Christmas tree and a mouldy mattress. And pots, hundreds of little blue pots.
The blue pot are those I buy my favourite yogurt in. Ceramic jars I could not throw away and thought one day I would find a use for them, like people who buy a lovely Chateau and find use for dormant stuff – perhaps pencil jars, flower pots, beauty products oh, the list was endless and the patience is now worn so the pots will have to go to the dump along with everything else.
I find parts of my mother’s 60 year old Kenwood. A shovel, for what reason I know not, miles of electrical cords and a DVD player, lying in a watery grave. Chairs and a table turned white with mould, and books in a box. Books that peel pages, wet and melancholy pages.
I can let go of all this. I need to let go of all this, but here is the rub – I have to get rid of all this. Physically. In London. To the dump.
Herein lies the anxiety. The leetle car will make for days of my life, going back and forth. The lifting and trying to move said items will impact on my heart, my lungs and my future. Hiring someone to do it will cost me the same price as a holiday in Mauritius. What is a girl to do?
And I think of Sarah, facing adversity with a calm resignation. I hope I shall not be committed, but rather temper the fear and get to the doing of things. Time … oh she is harsh. The children can sense the asking, like they used to wait to have their vaccinations, dreading and filled with doom.
How simple it would be to shut the door and leave it for someone else to clean up. Not like that. So to scraping the soggy bottoms of cardboard from cold cement floors, heaving and heaving in the doing of it. Making sure that the new owners have a clean garage, but secretly sniggering when they find out which one it is.
My new garage will be light filled, spacious and house a car from now on. And I shall remember the experience whilst mixing a batter for cupcakes with the other half of the Kenwood, when I find it, and ponder – did this cleaning of this garage curse my anxiety to the level of Sarah? Will I max the Amex and hire burly men to do the job instead? That cave of stuff needs addressing and I have little time, so to mustering the strength, face the ire and damp and dive in.
Remember, it is dark, even at nine in the morning. Medusa awaits.
Images. The daily mail