Tuesday, 28 July 2009


There are no doubt deeply psychological reasons why people hoard things. I am at the moment sitting on a chair on top of a pile of computer manuals circa 1978, as I can barely peer over the edge of my borther’s computer screen if I don’t . He is 6′3″. I can also barely find a path from his study door to the computer desk because of the heaps of outdated stuff on all subjects that my brother just can’t bear to throw away. There is even a fairly new bottle of Heinz tomato sauce squeezed into a gap on a shelf, waiting for his next business trip to HIgh Wykham (the fish and chip shop there has only an inferior kind.) There are several sheds in the garden, similarly piled high with anything from ancient lawnmowers to all kinds of ‘useful’ pieces of wood and every kind of broken tool waiting to be repaired one day. These stand alongside the new ones. The women in our family are mostly not hoarders, especially of clothes. I have finally realised that this is a ploy to dramatically open a nearly empty wardrobe and exclaim, “I have nothing to wear!” so that a sympathetic (and duped) husband will agree to the purchase of new garments. I am not like that - I get fond of my old clothes and tend to wear them until they fall apart. I confess this is a trait I inherit from my father. He has a sixty-year old suit in his cupboard that he got married in. But then it still fits him. My husband buys new clothes occasionally, when bullied, but then declares that they have to “get used to being in my cupboard” before he will wear them. He has a sock drawer with no less than (I hope he blushes!) 85 pairs of socks, of which he only wears 5 because they exactly match his trousers! I kid you not - well, there are another 3 winter pairs which he takes on holiday when we to to the chilly Karoo. All our spare wardrobes are filled with my husband’s old ‘thin’ clothes. I have tried to sneak them off to the charity shop, but he immediately notices any gaps. Things have suddenly changed though since our burglary. I pointed out that the cupboards were so full we didn’t know what had been stolen in the line of clothes. He was so incensed at the thought of a burglar making off with any of his precious (old) stuff that he has finally been co-erced to having a clean-out and a lot of good trousers and shirts have now gone to the needy and we at last have empty space. Of course, no burglar would ever want any of that stuff - but I’m not telling my husband that.

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