This morning it was our monthly writers' meeting. We meet in the Quaker Meeting House in our little town. It is a lovely, peaceful, simple room and very conducive to writing.
There were ten of us this morning and the theme was 'I hadn't been up into the loft for ages'. Almost all of us had managed something.
The ideas were really all the same - going up into the loft, looking at old things, reviving memories - and yet everyone managed to find a different angle of approach. Interestingly, our chairman had written an eight-line poem and really it completely summed up all that had been said by everyone else. A case of 'less is more' if ever there was one - it was such a clever poem.
Lofts are funny things aren't they? We do not have one here on the farm. Because our house has a sharp gable on the front I think it does not leave room for a loft, so we have a box room instead. It houses the farm accounts for the last ten years, all stacked on shelves, the Christmas decorations put away in boxes each year, all the suitcases and the cleaning implements for my cleaner who comes each week. In addition there are numerous boxes - we all agreed that men do tend to keep boxes in which things have been delivered (in case they need to go back?).
So my 'loft material' - photographs, old letters, knick-knacks - all have to be kept in various places around the house. All the photographs are kept in an old tin and I know if I lift the lid I am lost for the afternoon as I browse through my childhood and that of my son.
I wonder how folk kept memories alive before the days of photographs. Sadly, I suspect that memories of those days are largely lost. All I can urge is that if you have a collection of old photographs, now is the time to write on the back of every one - the rough date it was taken, the occasion, the people in the photograph and any other relevant information. I did this when I first put them into the tin and any I find and add are written up before they go in. I know that many of them will be completely unintelligible to folk who come after me without a few pointers in the right direction.