Have you ever watched with abject horror and morbid fascination those programs about hoarders? Wondered how they could possibly live like that? Today I am going to tempt your reading tastebuds with a little tidbit from The Woman Who Kept Everything by Jane Gilley, published by Avon Books.
The boiling hot water splashed over Gloria’s fingers. ‘Waargh!’
She did a little agony dance whilst she waited for the pain to ease, blowing on her fingers. Damn. She’d need to get outside to dunk her hand in the cold water barrel.
Her oldest friend, Tilsbury, was always harping on about that darned pan; said that using it, without a lid, instead of a kettle, might prove disastrous one day. Gloria wouldn’t buy a kettle, though. Said she didn’t have the money for expensive items like that. Well, her son, Clegg, had given her a credit card for ‘essential items’ but she never went anywhere to use it. In fact, she rarely went out at all. She didn’t really need to.
Today she’d knocked the pan by accident, reaching over to check the potato soup she was cooking for their lunch. These days she was always eating potato soup, on account that she had a large sack of them, out back, that Tilsbury had got from someone in the know. She liked that it could be a cheap nourishing meal when she had onions, carrots and a good stock in it.
But, today, she only had potatoes. Add a bit of salt and it would have to do, she’d thought. Anyway, the hot water for their tea, boiling away in the pan next to the soup, had sploshed onto her left hand as she’d leaned over the grimy stove to stir their meal.
Gloria grunted as she hitched up her Crimplene dress and clambered over the piles of squashed cardboard boxes and magazines, nearly slipping on mouldy teabags, decomposing potato skins, marmalade-smeared crusts and other detritus around the kitchen sink unit. She no longer noticed the stink like rotting cabbage. Empty, dripping or congealed milk cartons, plastic bags and other household rubbish also littered the floor – more obstacles to tackle – in order to get to that cold water barrel, outside by the back door. The original Georgian taps in her kitchen sink had long since seized up. So the only water she could use was in that rainwater barrel, outdoors: for cooking, for occasional washing, for everything really.
But, at seventy-nine, she knew she was getting too old for all this.
I hope you enjoy this little tidbit, and that it might tempt you pickup a copy of this book for yourself.
Happy reading my friends.