Saturday, February 16, 2013

Chuck ’em

Thirty years ago today, half my life give or take a few months, I bought a four bedroom house, in Kilburn. Until then, I had been living in a short-life housing association flat in Iverson Road, a few streets away, so this was quite a step up into the grown-up world. Here is my diary entry for that day.

Wednesday 16 February 1983
‘Completion Day. The nervous lanky solicitor kept ringing me up all morning to clarify the position of the keys. She’s on her way to Kilburn as though Kilburn were north of Newcastle. 13 Aldershot Road, NW6. Keep it simple. Like it simple. Never was a house owner before.

A nervous sort of tension has kept me high and arrogant for days with little peace of mind to sit and write. The new house has kept me more preoccupied than the thought of the new job at McGraw-Hill.

I pack slowly in an effort to sift my jumble of belongings. There is little of value and little of quality from one end of them to the other, from scalfs to furniture, from cutlery to enlarger. Despite a tingling excitement about the new house, I am also acutely aware that it will be full of the same possessions. Books are a bind. They fill endless boxes and make them heavy. Why do I keep such books, old Penguins, hard back copies of Dickens, compilations of 50s photographs, Time Life books on the sea and the like. And trousers. What do I do with those baggy flares that swallow up the carpet as well as my feet? Will they ever come back into fashion? Chuck ’em. And those new trousers with a waist too tight for my stomach line. Do I keep old jumpers with holes in to work on the car. Chuck ’em, Chuck ’em not, Chuck ’em . . .’

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