A two-drawer filing cabinet is a handy thing if you have a shortage of space, but a four-drawer is best if you mean business.
Paul [Brocklehurst] helped me replace my old two-drawer last Saturday. We imported a big cabinet taken from my late father's office at Redgrave. It has brass handles and is decorated to resemble wood; it dates from the first half of the last century, and must have originated from the Estate Office at Hinderclay Hall, pre 1971. It is a gloomy tin tower with a cloud of memories hanging around its summit, freighted with a cargo of papers. We pulled out the drawers to move it, and there - at the bottom - was a paper lying among the dust and old paper clips. A carbon-copy of a letter from my father to a solicitor about renting out Coneygar Lodge, near Bibury, in 1965.
I am caught by a surge of memories. We left Gloucestershire in 1965 to move to Snape Hill in Suffolk; the Lodge was our temporary home before the move.
It was a cottage built of Jurassic limestone on a lonely road in the Cotswolds, opposite a big wood. People said the road was Roman. My six-year old self was fascinated by its unconverted bread oven and initial lack of electricity, but above all by the plethora of moths which crowded in at my bedroom window on summer nights. I had never seen such riches before; they welled up from the depths of the wood. I clearly remember the beauty of my first Puss Moth, its dappled white wings and tremulous, dynamic energy. That page of indigo typescript has called up a lost world.
I have put the two-drawer cabinet out of doors, by the front door, waiting for Justin [Partyka] to pick it up. He will give it a good home, unless he cannot bear the colour of the yellow paint which Tracey and I applied (we hated industrial grey). The weather is warm, muggy, overcast, and threatens rain. I have covered the cabinet with a sheet of rumpled and torn black polythene, weighted down with some rocks from a collection by the front door: two flint nodules from a local chalk pit, a thick fragment of what may be Roman tile collected locally by Mark [Sorrell] and a nondescript lump of Jurassic limestone (I forget where from).