Saturday 8:00 am.
I find myself in the kitchen clutching an empty chocolate wrapper in my hand, realising I ate the chocolate before breakfast like a sandwich. The reason ?
She must feature as one of the world’s biggest hoarders you will probably think, but no not me , the previous owner of my new home.
When we first viewed the property the estate agent casually mentioned that there is a small storage space underneath the house.
“Just big enough for your grandchildren to play in” she said.
I peered into the opening, saw a few boxes in the dim light and didn’t give it another thought.
Much later when I saw the floorplans of the house I realised that the small space is actually a fully fledged cellar consisting of two rooms linked by a narrow corridor. However the only access is through a hole just big enough to wriggle through, if you are willing to contort your body like Houdini.
I moved into the house in November last year. I knew the previous owner had left some stuff in the cellar, but little did I realize the extent of it.
On Saturday as I had the gardener to help me I decided this is the clean up day.
He climbed into the hole and started handing me whatever he could find.
Many empty boxes, with lots of packaging material inside.
Paint tin after paint tin, most of them so old that the tins were either rusted or left with blobs of thick paint lying at the bottom.
Gardening equipment, insect sprays, fertiliser, pots, a broom, a garden hose, potplant soil, garden stones and more.
Electrical equipment, big rolls of electrical cables unused and some still in packaging, many screws, some rusted beyond repair, strange and unknown light bulbs.
Wooden planks and a whole heap of rusted scrap metal.
A forlorn looking piano stool which had me wondering who spent many hours on it learning to play the piano.
Two brand new children’s chairs with the price still on them. I wished they could tell me why were they bought and never used?
Eventually it looked like this next to my house. Do you still wonder why I ate the chocolate before breakfast?
Many backbreaking hours later and after calling in the assistance of my sister and brother in law it was all sorted out. Two loads were taken to the tipping grounds, the cellar was sweeped and cleaned and now I am the proud owner of a clean storage space.
All was not bad though, for amongst the debris of another person’s life I found a treasure. An old blackened copper container was lying under the dust and old boxes. It cleaned up nicely and now has pride of place in front of the fireplace holding firewood ready for those cold winter evenings.