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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Cash in the attic? More like the car crash of my past

The other day I received a press release entitled: Cash In The Attic.

Apparently, British lofts are repositories of hidden treasures. The press release cited research that put the average worth of items left loitering in the loft at a rather peachy £1,922.

I remain to be convinced as to whether or not lucrative chattels do indeed lurk in hidden corners of England's lofts. They certainly don't rest in my mother's attic, which last time I was sent up there to 'clear it' had a princely treasury of half a table, an empty wooden container from a boxy TV from 1980s and a blue Princess Bike that I took apart when I was seven and could never put back together again.

But the good folk at Essex Rooms (a firm which builds loft conversions) who put the survey together, also discovered that Britons have a lot of really weird, dark scary stuff in their attics and to this, I can relate.

The most unusual items were, according to 2092 UK adults surveyed, dentures, dismembered dolls and urns containing ashes - both human and animal.

Source: Tumblr Strange Taxidermied Cat. Is there one in your loft?
There was also a taxidermied cat, a box of Victorian doll heads ... but no bodies ... and a tin can from the 1930s. No knowledge of what was in it. Probably Spam. I expect it was still good.

The majority of people have in their possession old Christmas decorations, baby clothes and furniture that was inherited from Great Aunt Gert and may be worth something but it is really damn ugly and you don't want it in your bedroom, in case you wake up at 3am to hear the chair creaking in the corner and your dead ancestor sitting in it, knitting a ghostly shawl. 'Don't mind me dearies, you continue with preserving the family line'.

To be honest, I would rather have a questionable-looking divan than a box of Victorian doll's heads, which is pretty creepy. I mean, I've seen those films. Even borrowing a neighbour's DVD of 'The Conjuring' made me  nervous. I became convinced that having it in our house would somehow open a portal to the Western shores of Hell, and I'd come downstairs in the night to see the Anabelle Doll sitting on the cat's cushion, staring at me. And there would be no cat ... taxidermied or otherwise.

How do you know if your parents hated you? Did they give one of these to you? They hated you
In fact, I deliberately spelled Anabelle wrong in case it's like the Candyman or like Bloody Mary or one of those monsters whose name you must not say three times while looking in a mirror, or they will leap out of the reflective surface and kill you.

You know, the sort of creepy tales that older girls delight in telling you, shortly before sneaking up behind you when you're in the school toilets, minding your own business while washing your hands and looking in the mirror, and then shouting 'Bloody Mary' at you three times and running away.

Then Mrs Smith or Mrs Bailey come in to ask why you're screaming and pummeling your wet hands on the mirror when you're alone in the toilet. And then the teachers inform your mother at Parents' Evening: "Your daughter is a little .. odd." Yeah. No kidding.

Where was I? Oh yes, in my attic. Now I have a nice attic. It has already been converted into a brand spanking new Master bedroom and, apart from those freaky-ass ravens jumping around the roof in the wee small hours and whooping like headless Victorian child dolls, it is a pretty un-scary place.

The cupboard space, however, is stuffed full of, well, stuff. Mostly it is Christmas Decorations, and Wedding Mementos. But it is also full of bags and tubs of papers from school and university, things that I do not need but which I don't really feel that I can part with, just yet. Notes, folders, boxes of my earliest literary endeavours - all of this is secreted into the corners of cupboards.

I also found a box load of Commando Comics. My mother gave them to me to 'throw out' as they had been at her house for aeons. I used to love those comics. I lent my favourite ones to my friend Will (WHO HAS NOT RETURNED THEM YET), but I still have dozens of them. I say still have, because I did not throw them out. I took them home and read them all over again.

I don't know why I got so wrapped up in Commando comics. I basically went straight from magazines like Twinkle, Judy and Just Seventeen, straight to NewsWeek, National Geographic and Commando Comics, from about 14 years old. Yes, I was 14 years old, talked like David Niven, obsessed by WWII and learning all about international diplomacy from reading "Dagger for a Nazi" and "Dive, Dive, Dive!". Two of my new favourites from my remaining, if depleted stack.

Commando Comic
Clever Tommy
I also became a polyglot, able to speak the dying words of Germans and Japanese Kamikaze pilots as the brave Tommies and Septics shot them down in a fiery battle.

"Achtung! Der Englander! Schweinhund!"

"Aieee! Tora! Tora!"

Yep, not racist at all.

Having just written all this, it probably does not take too far a stretch of the imagination to work out why my teachers thought I was weird.

So, that's what's in my loft.

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