Sunday, December 1, 2013

On the first day of Advent my true love gave to me

He's been working towards this for the last three weeks.

It started with comments over the small ads in the local paper.

"That big CRT TV's still for sale."

"What make was the one we put in the holiday cottage?"

"He's dropped the price."

"Looks like he hasn't had any offers."

Well, maybe it was four weeks.

Anyway, when I came back from choir rehearsal yesterday the paper was folded inside out to the small ads for TV and Radio, and this morning he pootled off in the car and came back looking rather chuffed.

I know that face.

I started wiping down the cabinet on which our present small flat-screen TV stands.

"You needn't rush," he said. "I'll ask Chris to give me a lift with it when he comes to look the sheep tomorrow." (note: housekeeping is not one of my skills. I just have a nose for jobs that are better done around electronics which I can move by myself, than around those that need two fit men).

OK. Replaced small TV and cables. Returning to kitchen with damp cloth, walked past mother in law's display cabinet. Thought it ooked a bit dusty. Wiped all shelves and objets d' - well, not quite Art, but you know, too shiny to give away to the charity shop. Some tiny toys and coloured pebbles that belonged to Naomi, some vases with nice lines, a couple of ceramic birds, a set of Concordabilia including a model of the plane.

Opened the centre cupboard, just out of curiosity. Who knows what might be inside your mother in law's drawers--no, don't answer that. We inherited the cabinet when she moved to the care home. The centre bit is a booze cupboard, glass shelves, mirror back. Empty. I turned the damp cloth around and gave it a consolatory wipe, just so it didn't feel left out. And I thought: that's a useful space. And more convenient than the sideboard.

G actually keeps his wine in the larder, which is a nice steady temperature, but there are odd bottles of spirits lurking in the sideboard. I thought: I'll shift them to the cabinet--thus perhaps removing the need to lock the sideboard against small grandson's curiosity.

So I found the keys of the sideboard and did some exploring.

Well, I recognised G's trio of unopened Christmas-present malt whiskies, but who knew there were so many bottles of gin in there?  A brand, moreover, that isn't sold locally? Or sherry, that I only buy for the elderly? Or brandy, that G doesn't drink on account of sickening himself with it when he developed a tooth abscess on a Friday and the dentist couldn't see him till Monday?

Like I said, who knows what's in your mother in law's--whatnot. To be fair, his brother and brother's partner were big gin drinkers.

I moved the spirits to the display cabinet. There still seemed to be a lot of room to spare, including a glass shelf.

I attacked the sideboard again and clinked out all the glasses. A majority of MiL's collection have gone already to charity shops and there are possibly a few out in the shed, their future role as yet unassigned, but in the sideboard there was one heavy glass decanter I'd never seen before and another beautifully engraved with the west front of Westminster Abbey.  And then--who ever drank anything from glasses two inches tall that you can't get your nose into? Apart from medicine? I found five of those, smoky brown thimbles, very 1970s. And two titchy Cristal d'Arques pots that I'm sure were designed for hairgrips and stuff on your dressing table rather than for drinking out of.

I should add that I reached a count of eight before I found a pair among anything that belonged to us. I discarded the cheap, the unmatched and the impractical (the smoky brown thimbles). I was going to chuck the solo brandy balloon too but when I flicked it with a fingernail it sang such a beautiful note that I instantly re-adopted it. Thereafter I also got rid of the glasses that didn't try to sing.

Hot water with vinegar, and a glass-cloth, reduced the remainder to roughly the same variety of clean.

Among other things (as above) I've kept: half-pint highballs,
six vine-etched glasses, 
five tumbler things, 
four Jennings mugs,
three crystals,
two pint pots,
and a shot-glass for Famous Grouse.

The display cabinet is clean. The sideboard, sort of (it's still locked--not all the malt whisky boxes fitted in the cabinet.)

The TV is still outside. Who knows what tomorrow may bring?


Sue Millard's books wander around humour, history and horses. They can be found on her web site,

Her poetry pamphlet "Ash Tree" was published in August 2013 by Prole Books.  

1 comment:

Jackie Sayle said...

I did the sorting out the booze and the glasses thing a few months ago. Beloved was delighted to find that he had five hitherto forgotten bottles of whiskey. I only put back the glasses I liked or that we had a use for, leaving a couple of thimble-sized ones in the cupboard for those silly people who insist they'll only have 'a small one' when you offer them a drink. (Twenty thimblefuls on, you wonder why they didn't just have a proper-sized glass in the first place.)

I now have a much less cluttered glass-fronted cabinet in the kitchen. Do I have less glasses? No, because it was suggested I should put all the others into one of the wall cupboards in the spare bedroom 'in case of breakages'. So, I now have not one, but two cupboards filled with drinking glasses.

I also cleared out the glass cupboard above the kitchen dresser in which there were enough mugs to supply a works canteen. Where are the mugs I removed? In a cardboard box in the spare bedroom (which is now in danger of becoming as much of a dumping ground as the poor, over-filled attic). Why are they in a box rather than gracing the shelves of the local PDSA shop? My children want to go through them 'at some point' to check I haven't discarded any of their childhood favourites. Is either one going to use a stained, old plastic Postman Pat or Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles beaker ever again? I doubt it!