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Posted on 3 Jun, 2016 in The Godfather: Peter Corris | 1 comment

The Godfather: Peter Corris on moving house

peternewpicIt has been said that moving house can be a stressful event, not far behind a marriage breakup or a death in the family. Having moved so many times in three states and the ACT, Jean and I have no fears of such an impact; however, after being in our present house for five years – a record for us – it will  take its toll. Not only do we have to move but also radically downsize. This place has three bedrooms, the flat we’re moving to has one.

Books are a major concern; I have a couple of hundred books, survivors of a major cull of a few years ago, which I can no longer read. I’m hoping at least some of them will interest second-hand booksellers. Otherwise there are institutions – prisons, hospitals and so on – that will benefit.

As a result of careful husbandry, I also have a copy of every book I’ve had published, from a somewhat crude academic exercise of nearly 50 years ago to the most recent Cliff Hardy novel. I have every anthology in which a story of mine has appeared. I’m hoping this collection will profitably attract a buyer.

I intend to end up with only the three volumes of Somerset Maugham’s short stories – works that have been of great pleasure and instruction to me and which I cannot bear to part with.

Disposal of books in these ways will release a number of large book cases. There is other furniture to go – beds, cabinets, shelves, occasional tables. Over the years we have accumulated things in baskets and drawers – balls of string, household implements, instruction books for long-disposed-of electronic equipment and so on. This detritus can go into the wheelie bins, a process that has already begun, in the weeks remaining before the move.

Space for clothes will be limited and reductions will have to be made. I can do without a long-out-of-fashion suit, some threadbare T-shirts and gear from my golfing and gym-going days. I will hang onto the gown from my first graduation in 1964. Academic gowns don’t date and I have a fancy for it to be presented to the first of my grandchildren to earn a degree.

Outside there is garden furniture, no longer needed, pot plants too big and numerous to be accommodated and an assortment of tools and devices for purposes long forgotten.

I remarked to Jean that the best thing would be to wave a magic wand and be transported to the new digs with everything needed and nothing more. Presumably this is what the rich do – have people to handle the whole thing, then go off to their country place if moving in the city and vice versa if acquiring a different rural retreat. But I bet, as with us, there’ll come a time when they say, ‘Where’s that thingamajig I haven’t used for years but need now?’ and they will know that it’s either rusting in landfill or on the bench in someone else’s shed.

1 Comment

  1. Peter – can fully commiserate with your downsizing dilemma having down it twice in the last 10 years. However after the initial sadness of deserting long held objects including much loved books, I experienced quite an exhilarating sense of liberation – perhaps how a snake may feel after sloughing off its old skin to let the new one grow and flourish – if snakes can experience such feelings.

    About your books – those not sold to collectors and bookophiles. – Sydney University Chancellors Committee runs a Book Fair every September in the Great Hall. Money raised is given in grants to various Uni projects including conservation and restoration of art treasures and Fisher Library rare book collection. It also funds scholarships to students needing financial support to complete their studies.

    Please let me know if you have any books you wish to donate.

    All the best


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