Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Life in the fire

Ally asked

“What five things would you save if your house was on fire? And why? (Assuming all your family and the boring stuff like passports was already safe ...).”

So, I have LL, the kids and any assorted friends and relations out of the house. I have my wallet and passport, so I “exist” in our modern world. Beyond that what would I absolutely save?

There’s a flippant answer, and that’s nothing. I mean, I’m lucky enough to have some nice things and over the years have accumulated a lot of stuff, but so long as I have my family I’m fine. I’ve lived with lots of things and I’ve lived poor as a church mouse without things and been happy in both states. That’s not saying I don’t enjoy my house and its contents, I do, but if I didn’t have them it wouldn’t ruin my life.

Saying that, on a deeper look inside my mind, so long as I wasn’t endangering my life, there are items I would try to recover. I’m going to caveat the list in knowing it isn’t LL’s list, she would save different things. Also, we have a fire proof safe, so there are some sentimental jewellery and small things that I know are safe. I have to restrict it to five, so here goes, in no particular order.

  1. My main computer (there’s four scattered about the house). I do have back ups, but not anywhere that a fire wouldn’t get (note to self, fix that). My main computer has a lot of my life on it. I’ve kept my diary there, all my letters and emails from over 20 years are there, and it has copies of all my pictures since I went digital. I would truly morn its loss.
  2. Green Ted. Pirate Pete, as a baby, was given a lurid green teddy bear by one of my sisters as a joke. It is truly ugly, even has a red maple lead stitched on one foot. It is, naturally, his favourite thing. Even now, at seven, he sleeps with it every night, he whispers his anger and dreams to it. I had something similar as a boy, and I would not choose for him to loose it until he’s ready to put him aside. Curiously, the other two haven’t formed such an attachment with just one toy.
  3. Great Granny. As the eldest son of an eldest son (etc, etc, etc) I inherited a grand old portrait of my great great great grandmother. Its in this heavy gilded Victorian frame. I do not own her, I keep her in trust for the family and at some stage Pirate Pete will get her. Much of my identity is tied up in my family history, and she is the representation of that. Her loss would be mourned by more than I.
  4. Great Grampa’s sofa. My feelings about this are quite different to great granny’s picture. Its this great long Victorian sofa, and has a story I love behind it. My great grandfather was an inventor and business man. He and his brother built up an empire that still exists, though in a much changed form. When he hit middle age he was diagnosed with “heart troubles” so he cashed out, upped stakes and moved to Western Canada. His idea of relaxation was to buy and build up further one of the largest cattle ranches in the country. To relax he had made this sofa. Its comfortable enough to sit on, but comes into its own when lied upon. I get my height naturally, and its long, plus the arms are constructed to a perfect height to rest your head on and read. As a teen I spent many an hour on that sofa reading whatever I could get my hands on and listening to classical music (I was a strange lad).
  5. My library. This is a bit of a cheat, particularly as our books are spread in bookshelves all over the house (and in boxes in dusty corners), but how could I possibly save just one book? I am an obsessive reader, and still go through a novel a week (an advantage of the commute, time to read (about the only advantage really (but not a bad one for all that))), plus history texts, the odd political cant, textbooks, even biographies, plus all my cookbooks. The loss of books is a sin I’d rather not have on my conscience.


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