Country mouse cleans out the garage

I’ve been to France more times than to the back of my garage. Jumping on the Eurostar couldn’t be easier-getting to the back of my garage requires the skills of a gymnast/trapeze artist and the determination of a polar explorer. To say it’s full of clutter would be inadequate; each year, like a ring in a tree, another layer was added.

In recent times, only the lawnmower next to the door was truly accessible. But we’re moving house, and, on the assumption that, if something hasn’t been needed for the past decade, it’s unlikely to be needed in the next, a skip was hired.

Emptying the garage was like an archaeologist’s dig. One layer, about 2004, was full of that year’s great project, an extension to the study. Each thick seam contained packets of vegetable seeds, floor tiles and hardened paintbrushes in gooey jam jars.

Further back were the toys of the then newborn Anna and, finally, the earliest deposits: a computer screen the size of a large oven and a long-forgotten bicycle rack. It was a world of thick cobwebs, startled spiders and a neat pile of hazelnuts that a mouse had collected, but not lived to eat.