Thursday, April 12, 2007

Mr and Mrs Burnett and Stanley

There was a very good supplement in the Independent the other day - a collection of poems about Spring. Janie and I spent some time searching through it over the weekend : she in search of a solution to a crossword clue, me in search of enlightenment. Every poet, author and songwriter has rolled out his or her own Springtime simile and there is a whole array of images on offer from bluebells to gambolling lambs, from rising sap to bursting leaves. But for me Spring will always mean a skip. Not the skip of a baby rabbit or a new-born lamb. No : a rubbish skip. Each Spring I treat myself to a rubbish skip and prepare to rid myself of the mountain of old doors, cardboard boxes, broken lamps, and twisted deck-chairs which have accumulated during the previous twelve months.
Yesterday I decided that the 2007 Skip Week will be the week beginning the 23rd April. Over the next ten days there will be a rising sense of excitement and anticipation. This morning I ventured into the garage to undertake a preliminary recce. This means poking around old boxes attempting to separate rubbish from memories. Be warned, the process will throw up a wealth of memories and I am sure to want to blog-bore you with some of them (please note patents have been applied for for the phrase "blog-bore", if you want to repeat it please credit it as follows : copyright 2007 The Alan Burnett Corporation).
Today's memory is in the form of a photograph which was in a group of photographs I rescued from my parents' house after they had died. Photographs taken by other people are always a surprise as they do not have that familiarity which your own photographs have (this is even more true in the digital age when screen-savers turn our own photographs into a kind of wallpaper to life). The date must have been around 1981 or 1982. Stanley (the cat) adopted us. He turned up at our door one day and moved in. He stayed for about 18 months and then moved in with the woman four doors down the street. She bought him a diamante collar and took him on day trips to Chatsworth House. Such is loyalty. Such is life. Despite his desertion, Stanley will be saved from the Skip.

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