Changes

Here in the UK, summer has slipped gently into autumn. It’s always a season of change, but recent events have been much more dramatic than usual. We have a new prime minister. We have said a fond farewell to our queen of the last 70 years. And, closer to the Crotchety home, my father has been preparing to move house.

You may think that a house move is nothing like as momentous as the political and constitutional changes we are going through, but for this old man and his even older pater, it is the most significant upheaval we’ve been through for decades.

My mum and dad spent more than 30 years slowly, but inexorably, accumulating bits and pieces that they were sure would be useful one day. Pens, pencils and paper. Notelets, Post-It pads, staplers and stickers. Box files, calendars, rulers and stencils. Blank cards, labels and envelopes. Enough to open a stationery shop. Then there were knitting and sewing machines, and their associated materials: cotton thread, knitting wool, ribbons and beads, patterns and samples. Enough for a haberdashery stall in the market. There were electrical gadgets of all shapes and sizes. Old mobile phones, calculators, disk drives, memory sticks, radios and alarm clocks, and the chargers, adaptors and cables that came with them. Enough for a high street second-hand shop. Add to that the ornaments: enough Swarovski crystal to stock an online store, porcelain plates, china cups and saucers, decorative ceramic musical boxes, and cupboards full of cuddly toys. There was DIY equipment that hadn’t been used for years: power drills, hand saws, and complete toolkits. There was gardening equipment for a paved back garden with neither lawn nor flowerbeds. Then there were books and CDs in bookcases and piled on storage units. Every nook and cranny had something in it.

Sorting this out has taken the Crotchety Couple several weeks. If we lived nearby, we could have separated the wheat from the chaff. Things of value could have been found a good home, perhaps even sold for some pocket money, and those of no value could have been disposed of responsibly. As it was, the hour and a half’s drive to Dad’s place reduced the time available and sapped our energy. All the essentials have been saved, much of the rubbish has been dumped, and the responsibility for the rest has been passed to a house clearance company. We never got up into the loft; whatever is in there, and there’s a lot of it, is out of our control now. Moving day is Tuesday; the house clearance is scheduled for Thursday. On Friday, we hand over the keys to the old house, and we will wash our hands of it for good.

All of this has badly disrupted the Crotchety Man schedule. So, for this track-of-the-week, I’m keeping it simple with an old favourite – a nod to the past and a recognition that, sooner or later, everything changes.

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