Well I put it to the vote, and it turns out that the "binned" post the majority wanted to read was this one. I was surprised, and, checking on my statcounter, the vote seems to have been swung by some last minute voting from those who have not commented..so in a way the Silent Majority has spoken.
When I finished this originally I thought, first of all, that there was too much scope for offence being taken locally here in Cheesetown. I also worried that it was maudlin. I've since decided that the Cheesetown Mafia aren't too nippy around blog sites, and I can probably risk it. Plus, the Silent Majority has spoken, hey?
Looking back over this blog, I was struck by how few entries I have giving useful advice. This latest is an attempt to rectify this. And, yes it's a bit on the specialist side, but then 18 months ago I didn't expect to be clearing out a dead man's flat either.
Here goes. Ten hints for clearing out after the dead.
Hint1 There's no rush. Don't expect that you'll have to clear out household and personal goods immediately. Wayne had his own flat when he died. It took over a year before the lawyers were finished.
Don't bother asking the lawyers what's taking the time. They'll only look at you like you farted, mutter about The Pension Provider, and charge more.
Hint 2 Mind you, having said there's no rush, don't leave clearing out till the last minute, when anyone who could and would help is on holiday. This will mean you end up doing it alone.
Hint 3 Gumtree, Freecycle and house clearing agencies are only going to get you so far. Turns out they're all choosy about what they take. And nobody's going to want a five year old telly. At the end of the day it's going to be you, the bin bags and boxes making trips to charity shops and the tip.
Hint 4 Take more boxes and bin bags than you think you could ever need. And don't forget the newspapers to wrap the dishes and glasses in. If you do, you'll end up like me; wrapping it all up in Christmas wrapping paper you found in the cupboard. This looks strange when you drop it off at the charity shop.
Hint 5 Bear in mind that the dead can always surprise you. Who'd have thought Wayne of all people would have kept all his clothes folded so bloody neatly? They are nearly all clothes you remember well. And this was the man who considered money spent on clothes money wasted. There's going to be the shirts and jackets yoU bought him, the T shirts from holidays in Sri Lanka and Vietnam, the sweatshirts he's wearing in photos left around you. And there will still be the smell of him, soap and talcum and tobacco from the clothes in the wardrobe.
Hint 6 It starts to get really tough when you come to binning the stuff that was important to him that no one wants anymore. Postcards, his books on Maori history, CAMRA membership card, his list of Monro climbing guide carefully annotated.
Hint 7 Don't rule out that in between the birth certificates, and CVs, and old travel diaries and photos, you won't find a love letter.
Which is not written to you (see hint 6).
A love letter written to a mutual friend who has kept unsurprisingly quiet about all this for years.
Hint 8 Use the anger. Old love letters to other people are actually one fantastic way of fuelling you through this. Bastard. Who cares about the music (couple of hundred CDs and counting), the tapes (all those hundreds of D90s dating back to London 1990), binned. Bastard. The books, the mementos of the Springbok tour protests 1981, boxed. Going. Bastard. The real ales guides, the travel guides, the dominoes, the Sheffield Wednesday and All Blacks scarves. Bastard. See how you like it when all your shit is boxed and gone.
Hint 9 The living never fail to surprise either. The van man from Bethany Trust was round to collect the sofas and bed. Turns out his partner committed suicide three years ago. Hung herself on the back of a door. He misunderstood the tears. What I'm saying is, always remember to bring tissues. It might not be just you that needs them.
Hint 10 You can surprise yourself. You can rise above it. I took a couple of pictures round to Her House,because she'd said she wanted a memento.
She'd always liked the photo he had hanging in the bedroom.