I’m a person of substance again.
I have a long list of possessions.
I’m going to catalogue them and add them to my CV because, judging from what I have observed, they make me a more accepable candidate for life.
I bought a brand-new fridge freezer. Used ones never satisfy. They make noises and leak when you’re not looking.
Forty six quid fixed me a used yellow sofa.
My friend Karen gave me a good carpet the colour of warm sand. It looks new, although she had only had it on her floor for four months before her house flooded. Her sister took the carpet away and cleaned it, but then Karen moved, and the carpet didn’t fit in her new house.
She’d lived in that house for 18 years, and never had a flood there before, or a carpet.
My charity shop rug makes my living room look cheerful.
My daughter Sarah bought me an electric cooker, so the microwave that I kept from before my period of destitution has been demoted back to reheating leftovers rather than being my sole cooking machine.
I already had two dinner plates, two tea plates, two glass tumblers and a wine glass and lots of cutlery. I had a beautiful stainless steel wok, aquired in an eccentric, although legal and ethical manner. These items have been pulled from my daughter Claire’s attic and returned to me…
…along with a vintage Kenwood Chef which I was given forty years ago, in payment for a dressmaking job I did. I often welcomed such exchanges then, because some of my customers had little spare cash.
Claire also returned a long pair of cream calico curtains, and gave me a metal curtain rod to hang them from.
I already had saucepans, although some of them were stored away for my son while he is in prison.
I already had a a melon baller.
I have a kettle and a toaster, but they may not really belong on this list, because it’s possible that they’re only on loan.
Naturally, I kept my books; I’m not a savage.
I bought a nice big bookcase, and found an additional narrow set of shelves to try and ensure I had enough space, but I under-estimated…
My brother returned the Krups coffee machine which he borrowed so that I wouldn’t have to give it away. It’s missing the coffee jug because he broke it when he brought it to my new home, but we figured that if I go to the park and get a stick of the right length and prop it in the right place, and get a jug of roughly the right size, it should work perfectly well. I haven’t managed to obtain the correct stick yet.
My bedroom is empty, and I can’t use it until the professional cleaners have been and made a decision on whether the nasty stain on the floor which smells of urine and another sickly thing can be cleaned, or if the floorboards will need to be replaced.
But my temporary lack of a bed doesn’t matter, because I purchased a very good sofa-bed for £50 from Jigsaw, a friendly charity that collects and restores furniture. It sits cheerfully next to the yellow sofa.
I have a scrap of green printed fabric from the curtains which billowed in my chidhood bedroom.
I have a small round mirror with a bamboo surround, although I’ve never seen it before, so maybe it isn’t mine.
My sister gave me a large, attractive coffee table, two-thirds of a set of occasional tables and the quaint little armchair in which I am currently sitting,
and a small, threadbare, scratchy blanket that she had used as packaging. She says it is of no use to her but I like it.
She returned the PC I gave her last year when I ceased to have a home, because my need is greater now that my laptop has Alzhiemers, but when I swithced it on it told me I shouldn’t use the internet. It seems to be hinting that I’m not quite the sort of person to which it is accustomed, and yet it seemed to find me acceptable when I owned it eighteen months ago. I wonder what has changed – has my sister given it ideas above its station?
I picked up a couple of cheap dining chairs, to go with my dining table when my daughter Claire finds a replacement for it in her dining room. Although it’s not really a dining table, but an old desk that came from a GPO office at some point in its history. My brother gave it to me a few years ago when his wife no longer wished to see it in their house.
I have my modest collection of jugs. There are seven of them, but one of them now has a broken handle from heavy-handedness when it came out of storage. I wish I had kept the rather impressive collection of broken jug handles which I had collected up over the years. My new one would have made an attractive addition.
I own many other things too numerous to mention, such as pencils, my father’s pen-knife, A lock of my mother’s glossy hair wrapped in a brown envelope. I have several other envelopes which have never been licked, I have screws and blue tissue paper.
I have a little plastic pig. Unfortunately the christmas cracker has gone, but, as I often say, you can’t have everything in life.
Oh yes, I am a person of substance. I am indeed.
Do these items define me?
Am I better person now?
Or in order to hold my head high amongst respectable citizens,
must I aquire a TV?
© Jane Paterson Basil