Sunday, 4 September 2016

Lost......and found

14:08:00 Posted by Sheilagh Dyson , , , , , No comments





As the biggest loser ever (items, not weight) you'd think I would be an expert in finding things by now.  Sadly, this doesn't follow.  I lose keys, purse, phone, handbag, earrings, shoes on a daily basis. Not a day goes by when I can't be heard stomping around the house huffing and puffing, sighing and groaning, pulling out drawers, looking under beds, rifling through pockets and - frequently - howling in despair and frustration.  It doesn't help that I'm married to a neat freak. Everything in its place and a place for everything. Only it isn't and there isn't. In his desperation for order he has tried various systems: hooks for keys and bags; racks for shoes; special drawers for phones and purses.

It doesn't work. What he hasn't realised, even after forty four years, is that my brain is wired differently from his.  Inside his head are small compartments neatly labelled,
whereas inside mine is a large ball of string.  It's not a neat sphere, it's tangled and
knotted and there are ends flying off everywhere.  This muddle, I tell myself, is why I'm forever losing things and never finding them again.

Recently, visiting my mum and dad (in their late eighties/nineties), I realised that losing things was obviously genetic. Two out of the three days were spent hunting for lost objects. Four hearing aids - plus minute batteries - were the main culprits, turning up in pockets, the bottom of handbags, down the sides of chairs and under the bed, but only after we had all spent a fair amount of time improvising signing, shouting and mouthing dramatically at each other.

My dad is a crossword addict, completing both the Guardian and Telegraph crosswords every day before morning coffee. The crosswords are the easy part. Before they can be completed dad needs to locate the newspaper, his pen, a dictionary and an electronic anagram finder, all of which have been used the previous day but mysteriously disappeared overnight. Hours are spent, over the course of a week, lifting cushions, moving newspapers and looking under chairs.  A torch is often brought into play - if it can be found.

About eighteen months ago I bought my dad a large bumbag. I thought it was a great idea. 'Put your phone in it,' I told him, 'and your pen, your diary and your anagram finder.' He didn't look too keen but he reluctantly stuffed everything in and obediently fixed it around his waist. Problem solved. The bumbag really came about after mum actually lost dad.  According to mum, they were watching TV when dad left the room. Mum didn't think much of it until about 30 minutes had passed and dad hadn't returned. She searched the house to no avail and was just beginning to get worried when a bloody face appeared at the window, like somethingout of a horror film.  Dad had gone out to the garage, fallen and been unable to get up, finally dragging himself across to the wall and pulling himself up by clinging onto the window ledge. It was after this that it was decided he needed to carry his phone at all times. Hence the bumbag.

The next time I visited we had the usual searching ritual before the crossword could be attempted. 'Where's your bumbag?' I asked rather irritably.  My eyes followed his to the spot on the floor where the bumbag (empty and squashed) was being used as a doorstop.

Throughout the years, living with three children meant that strange things were often
found in our house: oddments that nobody recognised or admitted to. Jackets, hats and scarves were common, and if not claimed by friends or their parents, ended up in our vastcollection. Umbrellas, wellies, jumpers, socks and once, strangely, an alien pair of underpants.  I knew they didn't belong to any of the Reidy males (and the only other Reidy female hadn't yet discovered boys so I guessed they weren't connected to her) but I couldn't work out where they had come from. They simply appeared on the landing one morning.  Everyone was quizzed, nobody knew a thing.  The underpants became a bit of a joke, the children accusing their friends of having abandoned them at the top of our stairs. Before we knew it the underpants were being stuffed into visiting friends' pockets. It became a challenge to get the undies out of the house without the carrier realising.  The recipients responded with characteristic enthusiasm and cunning, and the dreaded underpants began turning up in the strangest of places - hanging from a light bulb, behind a cushion, in with the tea towels. This went on for quite some time. I don't remember it stopping or whether the undies' last resting place was in our house or in someone's pocket.   I just hope they eventually rested in peace.  And, who knows, I might find them when I finally attempt the big clear up.


When I was teaching I used to love Michael Rosen’s poems, and would like to
think this extract has some truth to it…


Losing Things

by Michael Rosen

I HATE LOSING THINGS
so I think,
"What if
there is a place somewhere
where everything you ever lost
goes?"

Somehow or another
all those things you ever lost
found their way there –
to this place?

Maybe there's a huge hall somewhere
with hundreds and hundreds of doors
and one of the doors
has got your name on it
The way in is not very big
but once you get inside -
it's enormous

It's cold and dark and damp
and there are thousands of people there,
and they're all looking for the door
that belongs to them
the door with their name on it…


Thanks for reading……Jill
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