I have acquired a new tenant for my gite: an acrobat working with a circus based about 30km from here. As with Odile last year, the deal is that Sébastian moves out when the family come, potentially at Christmas, Easter and in the summer. So understandably his rent is very small.

Much of the last ten days has been taken up with removing stuff from the gite and its cave below. I have done a massive clearout of old sheets, cushions, dusty elderly household equipment, broken shopping trolleys, potentially dangerous paraffin stoves….

Sébastian then asked if he could put his motorbike in the (never finished) garage, for security. Luckily Philippe, who looks after my land and fixes things for me, has a van, and he spent a day taking stuff to the tip.

I’m getting quite keen on this idea of reducing my possessions and have now started on a wardrobe full of things I no longer wear and the books I’m never going to read. I have taken a couple of dozen books to an Englishman who sells books in English and plan to make inroads Chris’s the vast collection of thrillers and similar.

I think disposing of years of accumulated junk is a typical activity for someone of my age. We did our major reduction of possessions when we moved from house to flat in Brighton and then I got rid of yet more when I sold the flat. So maybe my task is not as horrendous as for some. I have a friend in a nearby village who is confronted with the nightmare of disposing of a houseful of books collected by her husband, many of them of some value.

I suppose the only part of disposing which has hurt me has been coming to terms with the fact that furniture and objects which I inherited from my mother and which I have loved since I was a small child, have no future place in the life of me or my children.

The only things I would fight to save if my house caught fire here would be family photo albums. All other stuff is replaceable.

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