Updated: Nov 3, 2020
Once again, a long time since my last journal entry. It can’t be avoided any longer, so I’ll try to bring things up to date in as succinct a way as possible.
The reluctance to write about my personal situation has been caused by a continuing depression due to the passing of my mother and the difficult, inevitable aftermath of having to clear her home of furniture, bric-a-brac and a lifetime of ephemera. A deadline was attached to this task as the house keys had to be handed back to her stepson, (who was bequeathed the property by his father,) by the end of August.
Dealing with this was traumatic but when the cut off date came, we had disposed of almost everything, many items of furniture being given to charity shops along with various decorative items, lamps, kitchen implements and so on. A few items of furniture were given to a friend of Mum’s who was grateful to have them. A washing machine and some clothes were also given to my late brother’s wife.
Emiko and I mainly hung onto various small, nostalgic souvenirs that Mum had saved from the 1950s, some of which related to my childhood and my late father, though we did manage to bring Mum’s small fridge freezer home to supplement our own less than reliable one. This now sits in our kitchen, a constant reminder of the trips we made to the supermarket with her every Saturday when we would stock the fridge with Mum’s weekly supplies.
As mentioned in a previous journal entry, Mum retained a stylish 1950s bedroom suite that my Father had bought when we lived at Conistone Crescent on Eastmoor Estate, during my childhood. It comprised two large wardrobes, a matching dressing table and bedhead with attached side tables. I was very reluctant to give this away because it held great sentimental value for me, as well as being a nice design from that period. It also had a connection with my very first electric guitar, an Antoria solid body model. I think I’ve told the story before but forgive me for telling it again, just in case you missed it:
The guitar, which was to be a Christmas present from Mum and Dad, had been hidden in the back of one of these wardrobes, unbeknownst to me. At the time, I was aware that I was to be given an electric guitar for Christmas but didn’t know what make or model it would be.
I suspected, some days before Christmas, that the guitar was probably hidden somewhere in the house, so while my Mother was out shopping and my Father at work, I made a sneaky search of various cupboards, hoping to get a look at the guitar before the official ‘unveiling’ on Christmas Day.
It was then that I discovered the guitar was hidden at the back of one of the two wardrobes in my parent’s bedroom. I carefully took it out, saw that it was an Antoria and posed with it for a brief minute in front of Mum’s dressing table mirror, marvelling at how the guitar looked. My only ‘proper’ guitar up to that point had been a second hand Zenith acoustic guitar and although the Antoria wasn’t the Fiesta Red Fender Stratocaster I’d dreamed of, it was, nevertheless,a genuine electric guitar and I was absolutely thrilled with it.
I carefully placed the guitar back in the wardrobe, hiding it again behind the clothes, hoping that my parents wouldn’t notice that it had been moved. And of course, when I was eventually given it on Christmas Day morning, I acted suitably surprised. I confessed to my Mother, in much more recent years, that I’d actually had hold of the guitar before the Christmas gift was officially given to me.
The wardrobe and the dressing table mirror played a special role in my life as a young guitarist, and that’s why parting with those particular items of furniture, which my mother had retained for so long, was a particularly sad experience. I would have hung on to them, but there was simply no way that we could have made space for them in our already overcrowded home.
So, a charity shop was approached to take the bedroom suite but, when the removal men from the shop arrived, they were unable to get the wardrobes down the stairs due to the stairlift which had been installed towards the end of Mum’s second husband’s life. (Her stepson’s father. George.) A week later, my daughter Julia and my grandson Luke came up again from London and managed to dismantle Mum’s bedroom suite and get it downstairs. The charity shop was contacted again and they came to collect.
All went well until they attempted to carry the larger of the two wardrobes out to the van. When they tried to lift it, it started to come apart, and so they refused to take it. It was left in Mum’s dining room in a sorry state. along with a couple of other large items of furniture that we eventually couldn’t