It could be described as <something which had to be done>.
Now that I have done it all alone
I have neither <enjoyed it>
nor <not enjoyed it>.
I can see what I could do / would do to improve the experience.
This must be the business woman in me, for why would one wish to do it alone?
It was tough to load the car & trailer two days before - an hour is not long to bring pre-organisedboxes down from the attic. 100 steps <aller-retour / there and back> including 20 French stair steps - about 20 times.
[Good exercise for someone with a pinched nerve affecting arm and legs: what might be called crualgie. After several months of intermittent, inexplicable, 'difficult to describe to a French, non speaking English doctor,' this now feels nearer a 'correct diagnosis' from a French friend.]
Another hour to load a heavy pine trestle table, lightweight plastic table, garden parasol and chairs, stationery items, clothing according to weather. There was food to think about on the morrow as often these places have food I don't eat.
Between 2012 and 2018 there were three other days of selling stuff at vide-greniers in this village. Often I skipped opportunity when the Easter Brocante was too cold or wet. September, I was usually in UK for mother's birthday. Two were on the designated village site - one I did with a friend for guidance, another I did alone to develop bravery. The third, in my courtyard was successful at ridding of stuff, where DIY & household stuff of his and her stuff sold early for reasonable prices, a depressing lull mid day and for silly prices late afternoon. We just wanted it gone. I considered 60 or 70 euros was a good day for unwanted items, but this time a hundred seemed ok until someone last night scoffed. It does beg the question that income is not paying for the effort but I would rather TRY to have some money than nothing for it. A PROJECT I could do without! Basically, my current theory has been to to generate good money for old forgotten collected things, many of which were too good for the déchetterie but too poor for charity shops!
Toy cars with no tyres had a new home by lunchtime to a man who had lots of replacements. YAY!!! A 'rescue cat' lady was first for the blue cat basket. She knocked me down from 5e to 3e. I acquiesced because I didn't want to take the large item home. When she returned, my generosity had further increased when I gifted two cat leads to her sanctuary! From Big Feet.
(Two sisters, Little Feet and Big Feet, are now where cat souls (soles) end their nine lives. I will always vividly remember each burial and date of their departure from my life. I was lucky. Each cat crawled home. (Another story or two here.) I miss them both but the polydactylic one was very special. I mourn & digress.)
The last item to sell also had its own story to tell, but I shall not bore the reader. Let's say it was an item symbolic of love for France and a reminder of days where lovers once lived, where it stood for 10 years in an upper niche by the fireplace. First she was aghast by my stated price and knocked me down from 8e eventually to 5e stating it was not worth more than 3e. She very nearly didn't have it as I'd packed it away by the third time she had appeared for it! She was quite distraught after bargaining. In part, I did not wish it to go!!!!!! Reluctantly, (heat, weariness, irritation for, oh, "of all the things to debate about!" ), I made an effort to look, and there by letting go was there pleasure in personal healing. She was over the moon. It was her story now and not mine and this I told her.
Income was theoretically minus the cost of waterproof coverings - a very thick tarpaulin (bache in France) to cover the trailer and two smaller ones for covering the tables if rain descended unexpectedly. Nevertheless, nice notes were transferred to holiday savings!
It's not exactly a working income. If truth be known, probably less than 10 cts per hour, never mind angst, worry, fear, effort, energy working towards this day. All those hours with patient, tolerant workaway ladies, gently encouraging me to 'let it go'. Ladies who were wonderful making lists of music (need a specialist place to sell), opening boxes not opened for 15 or 22 years, or some which had been opened and muddled. All had taken over the space in my attic. Labelled boxes in categories, eventually brought a plan to fruition. An ongoing process of decluttering has developed into a rational and obvious procedure.
I do not want or need some things from a previous life or lives.
I come to this stage later than others but 'coming to' is the most important thing!
Many, many times when I thought, "I don't want to do this".
Many, many times when I thought, "I have to take responsibility for unburdening my life from his stuff, mine, ours".
Many, many times when it was too hot or too cold to be in the attic, when procrastination was a middle name. I could avoid the task, do something else equally deranging.
Those times passed me by until the last three mature women helped me on my final way.
I need to take responsibility.
"My children don't need to take on mother's rubbish... there will be enough decisions to make when I pop off, even if I do fulfill my intention of getting rid of what has now been sorted for disposal."
I consider how much doggy archive and antique stuff my deceased mother collected & hoarded and which she gifted kindly in her WILL but NOT to me! Phwew!
I think of stuff my middle aged children had and have in homes that are small space housing; one a boat and one a rental.
includes stuff in another building and stuff in the garden, which isn't all mine. There is a pile of old tools which must go to a metal scrap yard. Boxes of less old usable tools. Ladders. Cement mixer. 2nd hand double glazed units ideal for cold frames. All have stories to tell.
In clearing the attic, some things were assigned for the charity shop or to the bin or déchetterie. Some were labelled for internet sales. Some things were kept because I like them or would use them. Some were thought of as gifts for others. It has been a huge process and I have really only skirted the surface, as I hate waste and I cannot yet, am not ready yet, to pay someone to take the LOT!
I've learned how to better categorize, box, store items with labels of contents. Of course, I knew how to do that when moving house but it seemed more necessary as I try to think about minimizing effort and space when taking things to a car boot sale in a small vehicle with a small trailer. Boxes were lablled with V.G. (vide-grenier) and contents. But it became a muddle on the table as things emerged from box to table.
I had tried to visualise a table where categories of glass or kitchen ware, children's items, clothes, textiles, vases, jugs, bits and bobs, things for free or petit prix would be arranged like a shop and be more welcoming to those who were just looking. The plan is / was to display for example ONLY DIY stuff. I have a theory that people look for certain stuff. So to have one table of only household items or only garden paraphernalia or only tools. In my attic, one section was for general household stuff, another for DIY, another for larger items.
There are boxes of specialist music sorted to keep or not keep but not to yet give away. There are boxes of personal writings, and other things to sort. BOOKS have been categorised and bundled for the BOOK FAIR again. I am not going to transport them to vide-grenier villages. In the last 8 years, I have sold quite a few and many went back to UK charity shops from whence they came. Many were not my books in the first place. AND there are boxes of books I thought I would keep but unless I have a book case what is the point!
So who is reading "this excruciatingly detailed account of LIFE"?
I allude to what a workaway lady said to me after 5 days, when she did hardly talked ... and I did!
I couldn't seem to elicit conversation. However, I'm hugely indebted to her as she had the patience and tolerance of a saint to categorise unsorted photos from the last forty years. She kept me on task for two weeks in a cold February. She showed me HOW to clear 15kg of hard copy photos and negatives. At last they have been divvied up for my two children and others to sort!!
The first day of July began with a storm at 6h ... would I go ? The meteo forecast had altered. At 7h15 I drove gingerly with the load. On arrival everything was ordered & organised. First a pink ticket with my name and stall number from a booklet like one used to get when cloakrooms existed in the heyday of dance events, exchanged for a blue receipt on payment at the second, move to the third to collect a coffee voucher and newspaper. Then someone smiling in the rain tells me where to go. Once I had negotiated parking she returned to return my cheque from last year. (Only in France!) Last year I paid in advance but dipped out because of poor weather in the morning, so, you see, I couldn't allow myself to do the same again!
There were almost two hours whilst I leaned on the back of me car waiting for thunder and lightning to move away from the river. I didn't dare to reveal cardboard boxes to water. THEN, unpacking was slow due to rising humidity. At about 10h, clouds gave way to a clear blue heaven with a golden globe behind me. BUT, I was not under the trees. I would be exposed all day without a canopy. I began to slow further in the heat of 37C with little shade. The pink umbrella re-emerged; this time to be a parasol. I was happy. It was a lovely day. And so glad to be near the cloakroom, grateful for 'antiques' neighbours, and passing English acquaintances who covered my frequent, fleeting escapes, on which visits I espied an Italian ice-cream machine on the 'barbe a papa' (yuk:candyfloss) stall. I waited as long as I could for my TREAT. Vanilla heaven in a cone, followed by the last of the flask of Jasmine tea with frequent moppings of a sweated brow and a building allergy to incredible HEAT.
I did it.
Would I do it again?
It is the inconvenience of not having someone to cover the convenience visits that prevents me from going to unknown territory as well as towing a trailer a distance.
But I will gain confidence NOW that I know how to do it.
Sadly, for my lovely workaway friend I was not ready in May.
|Waiting for rain to cease I had at least prepared tables.|
|Packing up... ah ... I suddenly remembered I had to have photos to prove I've been here!|