Flower fairies and a one-eyed bear

I had a traumatic trip down memory lane this week that began when my mum announced she was clearing out the attic and had booked a skip. She had been threatening to do this for years but when she finally told me it was on the drive I winged it round to her house, determined to make sure that it really was just old carpet she was chucking in and not any of my old toys that I could recycle for my children. But by the time I arrived the clear-out was already under way. Despite being labelled a “skip rat” by my brother, who incidentally didn’t seem to have lobbed in any of his matchbox cars or transformers, I practically threw myself in to the carnage. It was like my entire childhood from earliest memories to teenage years had been scrambled together in a food mixer and dumped in a dusty pile. There were the rag dolls my gran had made and favourite teddies I’d carried everywhere. In one bag there was the grizzly sight of a dismembered collection of Flower Fairies. I collected up the random arms and legs, insisting that with some DIY hip placements they would be as good as new and my daughters would get as much enjoyment from them as I had. Then there were the classics: a Speak and Spell, next to my Now 23 tape. I even found a postcard from my best friend sent when we were 15: “You’ll never guess who I saw at the airport?? ROBSON GREEN!!!! P.S. “I think I fancy Alastair, but I don’t know????” Some I accepted I had to let go, but I can still imagine the giant polar bear, Snowy, with his wonky one eye whimpering from the bottom of a dirty skip. Maybe I have just seen Toy Story too many times? My dad is a bit soft too, I found him plucking some more teddies from the wreckage and clinging to the remains of his decomposing tent last used in 1979 – saying: “Look at this, it’s a perfectly good tent.” My mum admitted she did see my point and remembered when she was growing up there was a toy repair shop where the children would take their dolls to get mended. Go into a charity shop now and there are mounds of soft toys that will probably never get a new home. So at the end of the day, I headed home with a boot full of manky old dolls, a chewed and extremely retro dolls house that looked like rats had been living in it for 20 years, some paraplegic flower fairies and tapes of bad music that I can’t listen to even if I wanted to, but I was happy. After my good intentioned repair jobs fail and my 21st century daughters have no interest in my 1980s relics, I expect I will put them all into my own loft and in 20 years time will try and throw them in a skip, unless my daughters step in..


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