A Facebook friend mentioned she found it useful to put all her child’s essential items for university in a traditional trunk. Whereas we are all suitcases, rucksacks, cardboard boxes and rubbish sacks chez Bookwitch, reading about this trunk brought back memories.

Not that we have a trunk. But we used to. When I married him, the Resident IT Consultant owned a large silver coloured monstrosity of a trunk. It was vaguely useful as a table. Storage, less so. It began to smell, and when we ran out of somewhere to keep it, we came to the conclusion it would have to go.

We lived in Brighton at the time, so I put it outside the house on collection day, hoping my nice and friendly binmen would take pity on me and just take it. But when I heard them outside, discussing the trunk, and I caught the words ‘old man’, I decided to stick my head out and plead with them.

They wanted to look inside the trunk. Once they were satisfied my ‘old man’ wasn’t in there, dead or otherwise, they took the trunk and chucked it in the van.

I gathered – too late – that Brighton has a reputation for putting deceased husbands in trunks for disposal. If I’d known that, I wouldn’t even have tried.

Anyway, back to the black rubbish sacks of the present. Today it’s Daughter’s turn to flee the nest, as it were, and there is a tremendous number of bits of luggage going with her. The Resident IT Consultant always tries to make out he merely took a change of clothes and a few books on the train to his university, and that was that. Likely story! (Hang on! I just told you about his trunk. He must have taken loads of stuff…)

St Andrews

There are around twenty books of fiction in amongst the teabags and pillowcases and whatnot. Daughter said the other day that she needed to take books by her friends. (That’s you lot.) So we went through my shelves and (cherry) picked some reading for her. She has said she’ll return the books to me. I should think so! Some of them are even signed.

Not that she’ll have time to read. There will be ‘lessons’, and there is always Doctor Who and Downton Abbey. And some important person at the university has sent the students a copy each of Linda Grant’s The Clothes on Their Backs for everyone to read and then meet to discuss. She wasn’t sure about this, until I described Linda as someone who often comments on Facebook. ‘Oh, that Linda Grant!’ I think that means she will give it a go.

Excuse me. I’m off to cry a little.


12 responses to “Trunks

  1. Good luck Helen, have a happy term. I cannot think of a nicer place to be heading off for than St. A’s.

    We are packing for tomorrow here too. But in this house not a single book has appeared amongst the heart wrenching heaps in the spare room. Instead the burning question is How Many Guitars?

    I had that exact silver trunk. I loved it. It developed rather sharp edges and a good deal of rust before we finally parted.

    Off to cry a bit here too.

    PS.Trust you have no plans to change your entire course, faculty and eventual life plan as my darling son did YESTERDAY AFTERNOON!

  2. What a lovely son! (I think one guitar is enough, but at a pinch I can allow two.)
    Pass the hankie, Hilary.

  3. The best of luck Helen, St Andrew’s is a wonderful place to study in. Bookwitch, once you’ve dried your eyes, think of all the fun yourself and the Resident IT consultant can have now that you have the place to yourselves!

    We used to have silver metal coloured trunk too, my mother brought it over from Ireland. I don’t have fond memories of it, we used it as a coffee table and I was forever catching my legs on it. I also used to wonder, if the lid fell down while you had your head inside it looking for something, was it sharp and heavy enough to kill you? Could be the reason why so many husbands ended up in one in Brighton. They were the ones who LOOKED for things they had lost. Survival of the laziest and disorganised?

  4. Fun. Fun?? You want us to have fun?

    Husbands sticking their noses where they’re not wanted? Bring those lids down!

  5. Yup, sniffle. Tears about to be shed here too. Except our son plans a last-minute dash daan saaf, so won’t be off till next weekend, so consequently hasn’t even begun to pack. Ominously he said that he was thinking of parcelling it all up in boxes ( eh? sorry? shome mishtake shurely?) and then leaving them for me ( strangled screams) to take to the Post Office and send by Parcelpost. His faith in the post is quite touching if it weren’t so misplaced. We’re talking boxes full of, oh, let’s see, two bikes, a multitude of law books ( they weigh heaaaavy) a ton of clothes, towels, shoes, etc etc. That’s not going to come cheap. Oy VEH.

    My tears are drying rapidly. Think Dyson Air Blade speed. But the miracle is that my beloved son can actually go and take up his post-grad place. This time last year, he was too ill. So I’m counting my many, many blessings. Through so many tears I can barely type this. We are blessed. Our children are so unutterably precious. Never forget that we are so very lucky to share their lives. Good luck to young Helen – it was lovely to see you in the yurt. Scotland extends a great big Caledonian welcome to you, hen*. If you need a spare mummy while you’re up there, your mum’s got my number. Slainte xx

    * as we say in these parts

  6. Boys! (And possibly, girls!!)

    Put the bikes and the shovels (I misread that bit) in a trunk and call DHL or someone to come and pick up. It’s what my baby boy did with all his impossible ebay deliveries. For days we said ‘which one do you want?’ whenever some person turned up with a view to removing a parcel for us.

    Spare mummies are always good. I think she has all of you dotted around on some mental map of Scotland.

    Good luck to your Parcelpost fan!

  7. I nearly went to St Andrews. Instead I chose Edinburgh (it was nearer, or at least less remote). And yes, I had a trunk. Since then I’ve had it removed by a pachydermist plastic surgeon (there, Ann, a terrible joke to cheer you up). Good luck to Helen!

  8. Ever such good luck to Helen at St Andrew’s which she will love I’m sure. As for trunks, I’m feeling quite nostalgic. I had a trunk we got rid of when we left Manchester which had been my school trunk since 1955. It was a bit knackered, as you may imagine but I do remember it with great fondness. It had sort of wooden hoops going round it. On the other hand, still have my dad’s two tin trunks, painted black and stencilled with his name in white. One now holds all our photographs and one is full of toys for the grandchildren.

  9. That reminds me, I think the Resident IT Consultant also had some metal chest thing, smaller, but still as much in the way. It used to hold his medals…
    One can’t nearly go to St Andrews, Nick! Remote, remoter, the remotest.
    (I’m procrastinating. Have dreadfully long list of ‘to dos’.)

  10. Thank you everyone!! I’m at the half way stage right now, and getting ready for St Andrews in the morning…

    It’s very nerve racking!!

    Now Mother, go do things if your list is that long…

  11. A smelly trunk? Since when did you begin to write crime fiction? And more importantly, when do we get the next part?

  12. Just moonlighting!
    And I think we’ve already had the next part:

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