Friday thoughts on clementines and belongings

25 November 2011

I thought I’d start this post with a pretty picture. My kids go crazy for these and they are pleased that they are in season again. You might think “Pah, clementines, what’s the big deal?”

The deal is that these delicious beauties are not ordinary clementines (at least not in our book), no, these grow in Corsica. They always come with their pretty dark leaves attached and they are the most wonderful tasting clementines you can buy in France. They started popping up on the markets about a couple of weeks ago and we have already been munching our way through more than 3 kilos. We discovered them during our first winter in Lyon. Since then, their appearance has become some sort of pre-Xmas landmark. When they go out of season, it’ll be the oranges from Italy that keep us happy right until March. But talking about pre-Xmas landmarks… This weekend will be the first Advent weekend. Shock. Another landmark on the way to Xmas and so much to do until then: Making the wreath, buying clementines, making mince meat and -pies, buying clementines, organizing the advent calendars, buying and crafting gifts, eating fresh walnuts, ensuring that Nikolaus will visit our children and leave sweets in the shoes, writing cards (maybe?)… it’s always the same lovely-crazy routine landslide that dashes you with a bang straight into Christmas eve in December. I hope we’ll have many parties along the way…

On a different note, people who know me a bit are aware of my particular genetic disposition to part with stuff that does not need to live in our house. I inherited this trait from my mum. And I have no idea where she got it from, certainly not my wonderful grandma :). Recently we have been tidying up like there was no tomorrow. This becomes necessary every decade or so, when you live in a flat without attic or cellar (i.e. loads of space for junk).
Due to the way our life has unfolded and our habit of moving every now and then, we don’t have the luxury of living in a house we bought years ago and that we can fill up with stuff to our heart’s content. No, we have to organize our possessions sometimes, according to the circumstances. So recently, in another mad stint of chucking stuff out, I decided to part with our kids’ cloth nappies and a lot of baby outfits. I just kept a few that are special to me.
While I normally happily chuck stuff, this was hard. It made me all sentimental. Isn’t it weird that you can get so attached something that used to catch your baby’s poo? Let me tell you, strange as it may sound, it’s a very emotional thing.
But I got a grip of myself and looked at the whole thing with a more analytic mind and came up with the following equation:

a: There is no point in shipping boxes with cloth nappies from one country to another if you have kids at school age.
b: My kids will never wear these nappies again
c: My kids might not produce offspring themselves and if they should do, would they want to use those nappies???
d: Someone else might be really pleased to use these for their babe.

So, adding a+b+c+d = Charity Shop.
(This equation might not look very mathematically accurate, but it’s still kind of convincing, at least in my universe.)

And that’s where the nappies and baby clothes ended up today. It felt good to leave the bags there, but at the same time I got sucked into the depths of the shop by the old “charity shop magic”. I can never say no, I have to browse. And to buy and re-home something if it really catches my attention.
Today, for example, I am wearing one of my favourite tank tops: A woolly knitted grey and white jacquard-patterned tank-top that I bought about 12 years ago in London. This thing is vintage, it’s a Marks and Spencer tank top from 1979 and has a certain ‘Sesame Street’ feel about it. I love it nevertheless. Just like the vintage handbag

I recently bought for a song and which looks like I stole it from an elderly lady on her way to church. I think it’s super chic. And different.
Today’s catch was a neat pair of 3/4 length checkered trousers that look great with boots. I bought them for €4.50. I can’t wait to wear them tomorrow! I would post a photo, but they are currently out on the line to dry.
I think things that you really appreciate are wonderful. Just like this old but dearly loved tank top I keep wearing winter after winter and that makes me look nerdy or a bit off the mark one year, but (apparently) fashionable this year (I don’t really keep up with trends). It’s these things that are worth keeping, not the nappies that make me all sentimental but are really just cluttering up valuable space in our flat.
I have one more bag with baby stuff to take to the charity shop. Yippeehh! I might find another piece of clothing that I can rescue and treasure for years to come.

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