Last week when I was confined to barracks by the weather I got round to unpacking a cardboard box that had been languishing in our utility room since the end of August. The two other boxes that had accompanied it were unpacked some time ago. Their contents washed and given a home. After four and a half months I was no longer sure what this box contained. As it happened it contained my parents' crystal glasses which my Father had promised to me some time before he died. Now everything was unpacked and my mind went back to the end of last Summer.
Late August of last year husband and I found ourselves on the road to West Sussex, yet again. This time we were going to my Mother's bungalow, in East Grinstead, to do some sorting out and tidying up. My brother had already started the ball rolling on getting the bungalow ready to sell, by sorting through all of my Mother's papers and SIL had done some cleaning. On previous visits I had sorted out my Mother's clothes. Before we got down to the business of cleaning, we had a good look at the contents of the bungalow and decided what we would like to have. It was like being a kid in a sweet shop. All these things that I had had my eyes on for years were suddenly there for the taking. I suppose because Mum is till alive, it was a strange experience. Would she approve? What would she think about me taking things? We placed our booty on the dining table then panicked that it would not fit into the bags and boxes that we had brought with us. Miraculously we just managed to pack up all of our haul. Then it was down to the job of cleaning. It was a chore, but I dislike intensely dusty, dirty and untidy houses and I have done it twice before when Mum had been in hospital. This was to be the third and last time. Once we had removed a couple of pieces of furniture that we were going to give a home to and I had rearranged the ornaments the whole place looked cleaner and tidier. Ever since my mother moved there, fifteen years ago, it had looked cluttered, with more furniture that she needed and too many ornaments, as she refused to part with anything.
There is still quite a lot of stuff in the bungalow and I could be tempted to give a home to some more of it but my brother has already complained that I have taken more than him. I have taken the view that our parents would rather we gave a home to their possessions than allowing them to end up in a charity shop. Otherwise it will be the tip, or for a few items an auction sale room.
The bungalow is now for sale. The Greenwich Meridian Line runs through East Grinstead and the bungalow is just to the east of it. There is a stone, photographed right, between my Mother's bungalow and the neighbouring bungalow marking the exact position of the Greenwich Meridian Line. Both the garden of my Mother and here next door neighbour are overgrown, but the Greenwich Meridian Line stone can still be clearly seen. I am not sure if there is any significance attached to the fact that the Greenwich Meridian Line runs through East Grinstead and I am pretty sure that the stone was not there when my Mother bought the bungalow.