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Friday, 12 May 2017

Archaeology without mummies and curses


It’s spring, and I’m fizzing with joy deep-cleaning the house. Room by room. Much of the work involves lugging furniture from walls and scrubbing the grime that’s accumulated beneath. Then on to the walls, an easier job that involves much stretching. Then there’s the glass cabinet, source of great happiness when choosing which glass for which drink—though it usually involves beer.  The problem is we have too much glassware and too little time to drink. These have to be washed without breakages. Champagne flutes I abhor.  

And finally there are the bookcases and near on 2000 books. (I’m excluding the kitchen and bathrooms from this odyssey of pleasure, for the moment at least) Each book is dusted to within an inch of its life and pages riffled. 

Riffling pages is a joy in itself – for the first hundred books at least. I swear they sigh in pleasure and dust, and all manner of things flutter out: old post cards, photos of people you can’t put a name too, telephone numbers, and best of all letters with all of their memories.

It’s akin to fossil hunting, archaeology without mummies and curses, and the greatest of timesucks. 

Each letter has to be read and considered, photo’s scrutinised in search of clues; and telephone numbers—is it just me who scribbles down a number but no name? I mean, how can anyone be so stupid?

Answers on a postcard and I’ll slip it into a book.

Some were there as impromptu bookmarks, most were there as quick and convenient storage and immediately forgotten. And that’s where they end up again, when the dusting is done, because I hate throwing anything away.


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At least they’ll be waiting for the next time I deep clean, and I’ll read them again with the same wonder and joy. Who are these people who send me photos? And perhaps I should answer that letter that is fifteen years old. And which idiot scribbles down phone numbers without names?

4 comments:

Maria Zannini said...

I'm willing to bet you never got past the first shelf of books.

This is why I never let Greg clean anything with reading material. He will sit and reminisce for hours.

(I do it too, but I'm a faster reader.) ;-)

Claudia Del Balso said...

Mike,
First of all, congratulations on your two books!!! My goodness, it's been a while indeed since I last blogged. I had no idea that you had published two books. :)
That's what I call commitment. Kudos to you!
Let me know if you want me to write a post or blurb about your books.

Mike Keyton said...

Maria, next time I have a deep clean of books, I'll invite you both over. Me and Greg can chunder over scraps of mysterious paper and you can dust the books :)

Mike Keyton said...

Thanks, Claudia, I'll do that - hopefully soon