Box No.1: Lady shoes.
Box No.2: There is a place in life for experiment and a place for conservatism, and when it comes to crockery I let conservatism guide me. Squareness, ovalness, multicolouredness – these are all plate-diminishing qualities. The perfect plate is three things; large, round and white. This isn’t a trivial matter – a plate is the frame for one’s food. If I had my way there wouldn’t be a plate at Casa Alotofwind that wasn’t large, round and white. And so it is that I find myself unpacking our dark blue plates. The ones with the gold trim. Well, at least they’re round.
Box No.3: Lady shoes.
Box No.4: Lady clothes.
Box No.5 gives me cause to question K’s commitment to this whole Tarifa thing. It’s full of bric-a-brac, ornaments, glassware and porcelain. Our items of sentiment in other words. Each one has been wrapped individually in bubble wrap so thoroughly, and so thoroughly secured with selotape, it’s as if her primary objective was to prevent their unpacking. It took me two hours to lug forty of these little monsters up four flights of stairs, but I spend the best part of an hour unpacking just one of them.
Box No.6: Books
Box No.7: Lady shoes.
Box No.8: More books. Books unpack beautifully. Open box, extend hand, grab five or six of them and shove on a shelf. Beautiful. But we need more shelves.
Box No.9: Camping equipment. Like I need to deal with that right now. Left in box, placed in corner and covered with a white sheet. Topped with an oriental lamp. Occasional table!!
Box No.10: Lady clothes.
Box No.11: Have you ever beheaded a cat? I have, just this afternoon. A kitten in fact, and it was a nice clean cut. I didn’t find it as upsetting as I would have thought and besides, some superglue put everything right. It was one of three porcelain cats – the baby one – and was not my only victim. There was also the elephant whose leg I amputated, the fluffy white rabbit I suffocated and crushed in a vacuum bag, and the cute little hippo that suffered the same terrible fate. It’s a brutal business, moving, and despite our regular promises to each other to down-size or de-clutter we continue to accumulate possessions, many of them in the form of faux livestock. It isn’t difficult to imagine our next move involving the disembowelment of a pony or perhaps the wholesale slaughter of a flock of birds…
Box No.12: Assorted lady items.
Box No.13: Tupperware. Wait a minute – tupperware is packing isn’t it? Containers within containers…this is like the Mandelbrot set, but heavier.
Box No.14: Pots and pans, cutlery. There is something about putting an old pan in a new cupboard that connects the dots for me, a finalising of the transition from apartment to home; a momentarily jarring sense of continuity. Knives as well that have cut my meat elsewhere feel like friends here.
But I have to wash them all first – they have a acquired a fine film of mould while in their boxes and one or two of the pots, pristine when packed, have developed little rust spots that need to be scrubbed away and which will no doubt reappear persistently.
A thing removed from its environment, and more importantly from the tethering cycles which have marked time for it – for example the twenty-four hour cycle of use, wash, store, use, wash, store – is exposed to a whole new set of hazards, to forces hitherto unknown. I have rescued the pots and pans but they were already under attack and deteriorating.
I hope for K, myself and the lagomorph that the same does not apply to us as we unpack ourselves in Tarifa, or if it does at least that something or someone can give us a good wipe to get the mould off.
Box No.15: Lady shoes.