I insisted that the pair helped me as I wanted to go through their toys for a late Spring clean. Keep ? Bin ? Charity Shop ? were the three options. It went surprisingly well. They quickly identified toys that were ‘too babyish. ‘Really. Are you sure ?’, I said, hesitating on their Fire Man Sam DVD collection. I’ve always had a soft spot for Elvis the fireman and his lovely Welsh accent, even if he is just a plastic figurine. ‘Yes, really Mam’. It was the Charity Shop for my mate Elvis and his Ponty Pandy friends. Peppa Pig was charity shopped too, despite my protests about how I liked the way the rest of the characters ridiculed Daddy Pig. Sorry piggies. At least it wasn’t the bin. We sorted their remaining DVD collection into alphabetical order and I wondered how long that will last for.
The children were delighted when they found some of their long lost toys, including a cash register. ‘Awesome !’ declared Leon and off they trotted to play with it on my bed, leaving me to finish the tidying. I wondered if the play money would be any use in Greece, if all the cash ran out.
Alone, I had the chance to make a few sneaky, but necessary, deposits of broken toys into the bin. Taking no chances, I brought them outside and concealed them in the wheelie bin. I chucked a large container of broken cheap crayons, feeling guilty that their educational potential and the fact that they had hardly been used. Feck it, plenty more where they came from.
Every stitch of their school uniforms went straight in the bin. ‘Someone’ had washed their brand new wool school jumpers in a hot wash and tumbled dried them, destroying them both just two weeks after they were bought last year. I wanted to cry when I seen how fast e70 can be ruined. They had been threadbare for months and I wondered if they would even last until their last day in school. If they didn’t I was going to staple them together, determined to ‘get the year out of them.’
A few weeks ago, the children’s almost-93-old Nana gave them a bronze coloured eagle, made out of plaster. I know it’s made out of plaster as quite a few chunks have been knocked out of it over the years. I don't want to look a gift eagle in the beak, but it’s bloody awful. It has evil eyes that follow you around the room. I suggested to Nana, who is the salt of the earth, that the children would have more fun playing with it in her house and that she was ‘too kind, but we couldn’t possibly take it home.’ The pair looked at me, at their Nana and then the eagle, with faces like street urchins. Nana adopted a wounded puppy look. I was out numbered. ‘Geagle the Eagle’ was spreading its chipped wings and was moving to Poppy Cottage.I thought about accidentally dropping it as I got out of the car, with the usual bundle of accoutrements, but I knew that guilt would get the better of me. I put Geagle the Eagle into their bedroom. ‘He would like it best in here’, I insisted. Somehow he kept making his way onto the sitting room window. My house has a kitschy, cottagey feel, but the ugly plaster bird was a step too far. He was taking the look off my powder blue paint and pink geraniums.
I heard the children laugh and the cash register ping, as they played shop. ‘It’s now or never’, I thought and smothered Geagle in a black bin bag, alongside the myriad of previously loved toys. With the novelty of the clear out, I could easily fob the children off as to Geagle’s whereabouts, until they forgot about him. Just as I was bringing the Charity Shop bags out to the car, Hawk Eyed (pun intended) Mya noticed that one of the bags looked very heavy and insisted on looking inside. ‘I don’t know how Geagle got in there’, said I, chief suspect, caught red handed and looking shifty as they come. Mya’s knowing look led me to believe that she could have a career in interrogation some day.
Alas, the Eagle lived to see another day in Poppy Cottage. Maybe I should point out his evil eyes and the way he follows me around the room to the children. Plant ideas in their little heads and freak them out enough to want to bin the bird. One way or the other Geagle gotta go.