Friday, 26 October 2018

D-Day minus one

Yet more harbingers of doom as I count down to my surgical fate. Lying in the centre of the road was a dead cat. The Times today carries a pull-out supplement on Modern Cancer Therapies. And  suddenly we have to quit our unit in Clare Antiques Warehouse.

Contemplating what is to go
For many years we have had the unit: just a small modest affair, but it took us to auctions and car boot sales, and was hugely enjoyable. I was amazed to discover a world of Uranium glassware, ancient oak English furniture, or Victorian paintings and Silhouettes. My own favourite subject was the books, researching their dates and authors often unknown (to me) who had produced them, then pricing them. We had some beauties, including one lot of some 300 books from the estate of one elderly spinster, Jane Hunt. She had built the collection over her lifetime, and often visited the literary places described, keeping letters or postcards, or Times reviews or obituaries about the authors, or penciled marginalia, till I was able to build up a full and fascinating biography of her life. Many of her books I read myself, and would never have met them but for her. One collection I bought at auction was a full hardback set of first edition Terry Pratchetts, several of them signed. I kept those, and read some I hadn't seen before. But with all this looming we decided to quit the trade.

First thing this morning, we had a phone call saying someone wanted to take over our unit, so our stuff would be moved into another less favourable space. Then, within a few hours, we were told someone else decided they wanted a unit too, and we would have to get out by the end of next week, as the owner is slowly converting the place into accommodation, so many fewer units are now available. The one bright hope is that, knowing I face doom-day, the wonderful person who manages the place has promised to help move some stock into empty places, and find someone else to shift all the bookcases and books. I wonder if the Macmillan Trust would like to take everything?
Even Ann's new poem carries the melancholy of the days.

I know I must give you up
yield you to the mother earth
where once you sprang
with such enthused breath
to sing your sweet and merry song.
My heart sinks stone-like
in an everlasting pool
at the sombre, cruel hand
that points to losing you.

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