Of Rio, Television Sets, and Family Heirlooms

On Channel 4, whose news programme at seven in the evening is required watching chez IsobelandCat, they are starting to trail the Rio Paralympics. Can it really be four years since the blissful summer that was London 2012? Impossible. Yet maybe it’s not so bad as four years on I can still feel that thrill, that joy that marked the occasion. Seeing the footage again gives me a tingle of excitement about Rio.

Maybe this time round I’ll be able to watch the Olympics and the Paralympics from the comfort of the sofa. My postage stamp sized television is about to be supplanted by one I have inherited from Aunt. In 2012, when Jessica Ennis won gold I was up close and personal in front of the screen. It was the same when I watched David Weir, the *weirwolf*, net his three gold medals. And Hannah Cockcroft, Mo Farah and all those other amazing athletes.

It’s appropriate I have Aunt’s television as I bought her her previous one. I don’t remember ever buying shampoo for her, but that is a large part of what I have inherited too. She left all her money to the church, leaving some aside for the substantial refreshments and the cost of her funeral. While she was still alive, knowing that we would be the ones to clear her home, she said that Linda and I should take whatever we wanted or could use. Most stuff is going to a charity that works with homeless people but which also has a connection with a centre collecting things for refugees. Aunt’s clothes are going to keep women in the Calais *jungle* warm. Her fortified foods will hopefully help those suffering from malnutrition, and her stocks of gluten free food will mean some of her fellow sufferers of coeliac disease living in precarious circumstances may get the right diet.

Meanwhile I shan’t have to buy any cleaning products for several years. I may never have to buy soap again, and if you are running out of body lotion, I’m the woman to talk to. A lot of the toiletries were started so we couldn’t pass them on. I think I mentioned before that Aunt said she enjoyed opening new things. I shall be reminded of her for some time as I moisturise my hands with the contents of half used tubes of hand cream.

Linda persuaded me to take the microwave. I have never had one and never felt the lack. It’s still in the car and I don’t feel very excited about it. But maybe it’ll be like the dishwasher, and I shall wonder how I have managed to live so long without one. I do begrudge the space it’s going to take up in the kitchen though. I have a feeling it may not be a long term resident in my home. It’s pretty impersonal. Not like the soap. I love good soap, and the discovery that Aunt tucked bars of Roger Gallet among her clothes just as I do, made her feel closer. Just as the day when I realised the predominant colours in both our homes were green and blue.

I’ll be wearing a lavender coloured cardigan that belonged to her which hung in an unmothproofed cupboard and has lots of little holes in it, adding the dried herbs and spices which filled her kitchen to my food, and writing letters on part of her extensive stationery collection for a while yet. She used to talk about things “seeing her out”. I think some of them will see me out too.

I don’t know if any other family has bars of good soap as a family heirloom, but she may have started something in ours.


17 thoughts on “Of Rio, Television Sets, and Family Heirlooms

  1. You seem to have rapidly sorted out all the stuff from aunties and it sounds as though some needy causes will also benefit. I hope you enjoy seeing the Rio games on her larger TV! Microwaves, useful for warming baked beans and frozen peas but that’s about it for me…you are right they do take up a lot of space too! Soap and stationery hoarding too excellent, I have drawers full of both and both very useful! When I cleared out after my fathers partners death we found 22 pashminas, all still in their wrappers plus many other items mail ordered and never opened! The charity shops did well!!

    • I obviously gave the wrong impression. Things aren’t sorted yet and my home feels stuffed!

      I brought the microwave in today. I ammtrying to be open minded about it, and maybe it’ll suddenly become part of everyday life, but it seems a big object for something I’m not sure I’ll use.

  2. I don’t think the microwaves are all that. The only thing I use if for is warming my cereal milk up every morning… but then I do remember that if I wanted to do that, pre-microwave, it was a whole lot of effort.

  3. The exchange of good soap has become a family Christmas tradition as has the piles of soap yet to be used in my cupboard. Since I count years by London annual visits, I cannot fathom it is time for another Olympics. D’you think it will be as exciting when it is not on your doorstep? My Brazilian friends are not feeling optimistic.

    • Probably not as exciting as when it was here, but i ma looking forward to watching parts of it. Nothing will compare with going to the Olympic Park here, and the buzz in London at the time. Happy happy days.

    • I have tried and failed to tell friends that good soap is the perfect present for me. Now I am hoping they won’t suddenly get the message or I shall be buried in the stuff!

      • Be prepared for the next time we visit. You might check out the Ass’s milk soap from Belgium quick while you are still part of the EU. I hope they are free range asses.

    • I have all sorts of soaps in with my jumpers and drying in the airing cupboard. Now with so much more it’ll be less of a rummage when I need one for the bathroom!

  4. You can’t have enough of good soap with a delicious scent. Sadly the younger generation (well my lot) wouldn’t consider buying it for me. I may hand over this post for them to read & get the idea!

    • I am finding it interesting that no one commenting on this page has so far extolled the virtues of microwaves. I am sure they are useful for more than reheating, but I am not sure I am prepared to spend the time learning how to make the most from mine.

  5. Microwaves: don’t own or need one but I am told they are very good at cooking veg. Also popcorn. Thawing out frozen bits. Melting butter. Disinfecting sponges and other washing implements.

    • I find I cook veg pretty well in a saucepan on the hob; rarely make popcorn, but ditto above; leave the butter out of the fridge except in v warm weather; don’t have sponges. So it still seems a big space grabber for how much I am likely to use it. But watch this space as in a few weeks I may have fallen utterly in love with it and be unable to imagine how I survived so long without one.

  6. We’ve been buying the best soap for my mum for several years now, after she’d said all she wanted for Christmas was soap and books – in fact we, my daughter and I, started doing her a Christmas stocking with soap in it. (she gets lots of books too.) She’s got quite a pile of it in her bathroom. And my daughter has recently started buying it for me – she clearly deems me of an age to appreciate it – and indeed have switched from shower gel to soap, now that I have really nice soap to wash with! I’d never heard of putting soap in with woolies but what a good idea!
    The microwave may be useful for defrosting things. I used mine recently to defrost some mince to make shepherd’s pie. and if you come in desperate for a meal, you can cook up a baked potato in 10 minutes or so.

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