I'd started to read a novel by Anne Tyler which begins with a man, about my age, who has decided to downsize and so gets rid of a lot of his possessions (she makes it sound rather easy), when the doorbell rang. It was an antiques dealer from Brighton, enquiring whether I had anything for sale. I don't normally respond to that kind of approach (must get one of those 'don't buy, don't sell' stickers), but I remembered this guy from a few years ago. I explained that I really couldn't help him, and he accepted this and was about to leave, but glanced through the door and said 'I know you're not selling, but can I just have a peek at that George III oak breakfast table?' That's the one in the hall which carries the phone, the router and the junk mail. 'Hmm, needs restoring, but ... three grand?'
Half an hour later, after some fascinating insights into some of my furniture and other items not for sale (and some startling valuations), he left his card and departed empty-handed. A charming person, and completely genuine. But it got me thinking: sooner or later, one way or another, I'm going to leave this house. Whichever way, it'll be a downsize. And someone, hopefully me but potentially whatever poor sod I appoint to clear up after me, is going to have to sort this lot out. Never mind what I can see, just wandering from room to room, there's the workshop, the study, the garage, the loft ... just the loft alone contains enough antique hi-fi to start up a science museum ... I ought to make a start.
Later on, I needed to check on the spelling of some Italian words (shop names, as it happens) for my so-called autobiography. I knew I had a little Italian dictionary somewhere, and eventually found it, in a box full of old travel brochures which would certainly have gone without a thought into that skip of the discarded past. I know that everyone's past eventually gets discarded, but ...
This afternoon, the doorbell rang again. It was a lady who lives down the road but would quite like to move up to the posh end, to be nearer her daughter who's five doors up from me. So, she said, I thought I'd be cheeky and ask everyone whether they were thinking about moving - especially, she said, this lovely house. I was tempted to say make me an offer, contents included. But I didn't.
Roll on the spring, when I can get down to the caravan, where everything is here and now and it's all good stuff.