Tidying up is a bit of a minefield.

I keep finding things.
Sometimes I lose them.

Actually, a lot of the mine field is cleared now.

In the early days I dared not move.

Loz’s cup, tea bag still on the side, teaspoon in small pool of cold tea.

I will never see that again.

Marcel Duchamp put a toilet in an art gallery and called it art.

I’d give away his Fountain just to see Loz’s cup, tea bag and spoon again.

But you can’t live in a gallery or museum.
By definition they are for ‘appreciating’, not for living and this is a house, not a work of art.

So the cup was washed, the tea bag thrown away and the work surface was wiped down.
Because that is what sane people do.
They wipe away the past  and then pay lots of money to see a toilet in a gallery.

These days, years after she is gone, a lot of Loz’s setting out of the house has gone.
There are few things left in the house who were last touched by Loz.
Those that exist are not shrines, they are just tucked silently in corners and I have not got round to clearing them out.
That said, the bulk of the material in this house is tightly tied up with her or the memory of her.

I am not some kind of Miss Havisham, I do not keep the place as a shrine to Loz but on the other hand I am aware that anything I move, remove or clear away erases one more clue to the identity of the Proles’ mother.
I don’t know what to keep and what not to.
I pick up clues from others who have shared the loss of a parent and I try hard to preserve a picture of her for them.
It will never be complete for the Proles but I hope that through the stuff I have saved there will be enough clues.

The drawers in the bureau are particularly dangerous.
I believe every house has a drawer or a place like this, where all the useful things you never use go.
Pens, elastic bands, spare paying in books, old phone charger, second best scissors, a lighter that might work, odd screws, funny coloured paperclips.
We have some tiny painted ballerinas in a box. I have no idea where they came from.
I have a small ivory skull in a draw string bag.
I have bits of old camera and spools of super eight film.
These are clues certainly but no way of knowing what of.
For now.
I can’t just chuck this stuff out, not until I can research it a bit.
Each item is irreplaceable in it’s potential and simultaneously worthless in it’s intrinsic value.
What to do?

I have twenty five document boxes in the loft, I may fill one more from the house but the rest of the stuff can’t be put in mothballs, it is part of the here and now.

Today I broke the dust pan.
White plastic.
Three ninety nine with a brush.
Bought from the Big W in Pool.
We had been forgetting to buy one for a couple of weeks.
I remember her standing at the other end of the aisle.
She was trying to make me laugh.
She stared at me blank faced and held up the brush and pan like the statue of Liberty.
I nodded once and she dropped it into the basket she was carrying, then turned and walked away saying nothing.
She made me laugh.

The brush got melted, I don’t know how. It was the sort that fitted into the handle of the dustpan and they both hung by the bin.
Loz put the hook there when I was away on tour.
When I returned she showed me the hooks for pans, cups and one for the dust pan and brush.

The brush, it’s efficacy seriously compromised with the melting incident, was thrown away.
You don’t just throw away a good dustpan, not if there is nothing wrong with it, even one as cheap as that.
It has stayed by the back door for years now, for a time replaced by a red brush and pan but reinstated when they disappeared.

Today I was clearing out the grate, shovelling up the ashes.
The dust pan split from end to end.

I sat there for a moment and looked at it.

These are the tiny bumps.

I taped it up, cleared out the grate, put the ashes and the pan in the bin.

I am not sentimental about a dustpan, it is just one of the many things that got me to where I am now.

When I was at college I had an extraordinary tutor.
He explained that true revolution cannot be bloodless.
He said that one always had to destroy the instrument of change as it offered a bridge back.
Bridges must come down.

Revolutions are not always driven by people, sometimes they are driven by circumstance but the rule holds true, in a real revolution the bridges must come down.

I didn’t want to keep  a cheap dust pan, I am just mildly upset that the bridges back to the world I knew are still burning and will continue to do so for some time.

The analogy of holding sand and watching it pour through your fingers is a good one.
I suppose it is popular for a reason.

I want to hold on to enough of the past to tell the boys what it was like.
I need to clear things away to make space for the future.
Whether I like it or not it is coming and one dust pan at a time the past is being destroyed.

I have an empty hook, and Big W closed a long time ago.