Broken but not forgotten..

"I'm the dolly on the dustcart,

I can see you're not impressed, I'm fixed above the driver's cab, With wire across me chest, The dustman see, he noticed me, going in the grinder, And he fixed me on the lorry, I dunno if that was kinder."

This is part of a poem by brilliant poetess, comedian and storyteller, Pam Ayres. I loved hearing about this dolly and her story, but somehow I ‘knew’ that she was something much more than cloth and plastic limbs, something that had feelings even before I heard Mum reading this poem. That’s normal to think a doll has feelings you say - its just part of the normal role play that children act out daily rerunning all of what they see, pretending the dolls are those around them or themselves. Yes;... but for some of us it’s much deeper than that. We're the crew who name everything. We've an old chair, we never sit in. A car with string or tape attached. A thing once useful discarded by someone else is at our place. Old things. New things. All broken or not quite right - projects we want to do. Things that we loved and used and now do not. "I use that!" we say with strong indignation, but welllll we just get all a bit nervous when we think you're going to throw it away or waste it. They're all mendable things if you have the time. Even things that have pieces misplaced.

They could be made useful or beautiful again. Our creativity abounds - we can always dream up a new use or a way to cope with it in it's sad state. We're the penultimate savers, prudent and fiscally responsible. We're greenies and sculptors, saving the item from heading to that grinder. We're collectors of useful stuff with our 'useful boxes' chock full.

In fact in most houses I work in we end up setting up a 'hospital box'. A place for all the sick and lame, broken and lonely things to come and relax for a while. A place of healing with glues and TLC on hand. We can use the Hospital box to start to get a handle on just how many of these types of jobs there are at any one time. Like Gepetto's workshop the tools for mending pretty things await the next patient and the doctor with the time to spare.

But sometimes we can find a thing that's like that little pink bear above that has something about it that just makes it seem hard to throw out. Sometimes we even know deep down if we kept it, that it will stay on ground floor of the hospital for years as it's a difficult mend. To fiddly or lacking a post mend user. It's a struggle and it's okay to feel it. We're outnumbered you see. Thousands of factories world wide spewing out trillions of little bears but all poor quality and cheap. Noticing that you're finding it hard to let go against all the evidence is the important bit here. Sitting with the discomfort for a bit. I've found it useful to take a picture of these sorts of 'too far gone things'. I don't need to decide right then and there whether I will do anything with the picture or even the bear. The picture is just there saying "hey! this is tricky for me!" - and maybe I'll get time to ponder just why it seemed hard to throw it in the bin. It's new? It's clean? With a new set of arms it would be a totally cute little bear again? Learning more about why you find some things harder is the powerful stuff to mastering this part of living with a passion for possessions. Sometimes we can choose to take the piccies to a friend, a counsellor or psychologist to help nut it out and there's real value in all of these options. And a great book I can' recommend hard enough to talk through with them when you do is Buried In Treasures. So raise your glasses please to toast all those broken things; may they live long enough to teach us things about our ourselves we never thought they knew! There'll be no collection Friday. Buried in Treasures is available at many online Book Sellers. Pam Ayres Poem in full can be found at:

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