I know house clearance, enough to know that whats not fit for auction gets dumped, and the boys on the van, simply by proximity, get first dibs. Working electricals for a start are very hard to shift because they have to be sold with proof of safety. Old records, books, calendars, matchbox collections(!); all the sentimental stuff also tends to get sifted en route to the tip.
I just ran across the road and interrupted the house clearance team working there. I wanted to at least beg the photographs, having never managed to get away from a visit there without being shown at least a couple of photos with long stories behind them. George was so proud of his pictures.
The awful thing is that George Stripple's wife Ellen is still very much alive. She was his senior by five or six years , became very frail some time back and now lives in an old folks home. George was a grafter, up at the crack of dawn, he never seemed to sit still. He fully expected to outlive her by a decade and I think thats what we all imagined.
They had no children.
He lodged his will with a solicitor.
The first thing they did was lock the doors and refuse entry to the property, even to people who had been given a key.
OK I understand that reaction, perhaps, when the only owner has passed away, but even the solitary nephew who held Ellen Stripple as she wept at George's funeral was barred from running errands on her behalf if they involved entering her property.
See this is the thing. I get that the house would have to be sold if it was in George's name alone and there was a matter of probate. I get that it has to be sold to pay Ellen's care home fees assuming her savings and George's have both been depleted. I very certainly disagree with that, but I comprehend.
What I don't get is how every possession gets treated like an asset, how an old lady, slightly dotty and ocassionally forgetful but very much alive, gets treated worse than a debtor with the bailiffs in, just because she needs care and her husband has passed away. Is that what our Nation has become, predators to the weakest?
Husband dead, dear? No-one home watching your stuff and reassuring you you'll be coming home soon, if you get teary? Never mind ducky, we'll just box it. flog most and fly tip the rest. Say 'Ta-ta' to 60 or 70 years of married life building up a home. No, no you can't have the anniversary clock to remember him by, nor his old moth eaten bedroom slippers. Sod off.
Lets face it, there are some things that mere Bailiffs can't and won't take. For clearance guys, on the other hand, everything* you've got is fair game. And unless I'm behind on some news, you don't even have to be dead yet.
*The only things they count as personal items and save (I found out today) are items like cards and letters, and the precious photographs. Not the frames of course, not even tuppeny matchwood ones. I mean that would involve according you some sort of fucking dignity wouldn't it; and we can't have that.
Heres a game for you - guess what sort of temper I'm in.