Margaret Gow: Moving onto the second act of the dreaded Spring clean
I might have known. All this business about Spring cleaning I told you about a fortnight ago was merely the opening act.
Part two hasn’t started, and I have no idea how or when it will, as I am not of the lark persuasion, being known to burn not only the midnight oil but some at two in the morning if my book is particularly riveting.
Anyway, to remind you - all four of my children have been up to see me over the last few weeks, son and daughter-in-law being the third, when my late husband’s man cave was pulled apart and various items spread over the garden, where they were picked over for useful and not worth having. A journey to the tip had to be re-arranged when, suddenly, I remembered that anything taken in said son’s car would be sent packing as his numberplate would not register... so all of the rejects had to be pulled out of his vehicle and as much as possible stuffed into my - smaller - car. As he had already been grumbling about the associated dust in his boot, that meant two of us had a clean-up job after the “possibly saleable” bits had been put back into the shed, which looks just as full as it did before.
Eldest daughter came last week and told me I have too many clothes. Evidently the wardrobe heard her, as in the middle of the night there was a loud bang which woke me up and proved to be the collapse of the rail, with all the contents down on the floor. Giving me meaningful looks, she took away a huge pile of bedding and towels, some of them dating back over 50 years, to give to charity shops, but didn’t want anything from the shed or anywhere else, and nor do any of the grandchildren who prefer ‘new’ to ‘used’ if they want anything at all.
However, that is not my main worry. 95 per cent of these items are too small to advertise in a newspaper even if I knew how much to ask; and I have been hearing hair-raising stories about auctions recently where people, having had their goods sold much cheaper than they envisaged, ended up owing money to the auctioneers! These days, apart from VAT, not only the sellers but the buyers are expected to hand over anything up to 20 per cent for their efforts - and one in the south, I am reliably informed, charges 25 per cent. Never mind academic subjects, I think that learning to be an auctioneer should be a new course at all universities!
Anyway, back to the small items conundrum. I am pretty certain I know the answer: a car boot sale. Sadly, this is a problem in itself in that none of my children - least of all my dear son - will come within 10 miles of any such thing; and as I have told you, I am a night owl and anything before 7am means I’ve woken up too early.
Why on earth do these events require sellers to be there in the middle of the night, and on a Sunday as well? Who the devil is going to get up at four or five in the morning and drive to some field on what is supposed to be the day of rest, to be ready for punters arriving supposedly at 8.30am? Since these sessions last until mid-afternoon, why not move everything on a couple of hours for those elderly persons such as myself who just might make it by nine with a bit of luck?
Meanwhile, I am looking very seriously for a chap to take all the shed stuff to a car boot in exchange for a percentage of the profits. It’s got to be a chap, or a female electrician, because how do I know if anything is worth buying, and how much for? And truly, I really, really do need to get the shed cleared!