We spent a surprisingly enjoyable yet totally exhausting day on Monday - which also happened to be Richard's birthday, we really know how to celebrate in our house! - turning out the attic. Both of us are squirrels at heart, and had buried away some ten boxes or so of what is lovingly referred to as 'memorabilia' (roughly translated: junk). By the end of the day it was amalgamated into just one box. So what didn't make the cut?
- Photos of people that we'd forgotten, that will never cross our paths again. Where these people had actually died, consigning their images to the bin felt really weird. After all, in some cases that second we took to remember who they were might be the last time that person lives on in the memory of someone on this planet. Creepy.
- Rather a lot of letters written to each other when we were still 'courting' (yes, that's how long ago it was!) putting each other right on a variety of theological points. Looking at them afresh, I must say I still think I was right. Fortunately Richard seems to have come round to my way of thinking on most issues. Suspiciously so, in some cases...
- Yet more letters from ex-boyfriends. Mostly moaning about schoolwork, academic work, first job, Bolton and the miseries of living there. Very little romance to be found. I have not the slightest idea why I kept them in the first place. No wonder wrangles over RT Kendall (once saved always saved - anyone remember that?) seemed like a breath of fresh air in comparison.
- 'Just Good Friends' ('relationship' book for Christian couples pre-marriage) and 'John & Janet have sex' ('relationship' book for Christian couples post-marriage: not sure it was actually called that). We're holding out for Dave Tomlinson's 'The Post-Evangelical Marriage'.
- My wedding headress and garter. It's bad enough remembering I wore one.
And what did we keep? Amongst other things...
- All the usual photos, notes, postcards etc from so many friends that we have had the good fortune to share and grow up with. We loved reliving moments that made us laugh - and cry. My favourite find was a scrapbook kept during a fab year's flat sharing, right up to the plans for our wedding (including the seating plan - yikes! Did we really make those people sit next to them?!)
- School reports and academic assignments where we shone. The rest got thrown away. We reserve the right to develop selective amnesia when it comes to our past.
- Notes and doodles written and passed along the row in very dull A level General Studies lectures. The mundanity of requests to fetch cheese & onion crisps and bitchy comments about a new hairstyle capture a moment far better than any yearbook.
- The odd - and I do mean odd - message from Richard that was supposed to be romantic, such as 'to the best thing (!) in a 50-mile radius of Birmingham, excepting perhaps Dave Pope'. Again - remember him?
- A Christian 'relationship' book by John & Christine Noble. Trust me, it's the funniest read since the Da Vinci Code.
- The first song I ever wrote. Music and everything. Coming soon, to a Foundation service near you...I was seven.
- My wedding dress. The girls both dutifully tried it on, after Richard insisted it was a family tradition. He used to wear his mother's wedding dress all the time. He was probably seven, too.