Way back in February, before the Pesky Pandemic took over our lives, you may remember I was much engaged in the Clearing the Loft project. I can already hear you groaning that you thought that was all behind us, never
to be spoken of again. Except...
One of the Treasures from the Past that emerged from the loft was our much-battered Christmas Roundabout. This was a present to
the family from my dear mum and dad, fifty-four years ago this December on our eldest daughter’s first birthday. For many a year, it took pride of place on our windowsill every Christmas without fail where our Foursome took great pleasure in continually
winding it up and watching Santa’s sleigh and eight plastic reindeer slowly turn on its base to the tune of Silent Night. Sadly it is now difficult to coax a recognisable tune out of the roundabout. It still rotates, after a fashion, lurching along
drunkenly, spilling several of the reindeer out onto the table as it goes. Its previously glittery sheen is dull and dusty. In other words, it is well past its sell-by date.
The Youngest of the Darling Daughters certainly thought so, even while recognising the sentimental value of this family sort-of-heirloom. Wouldn’t it be the best idea, she asked me kindly, to take a photograph of the roundabout, for memory’s
sake, then consign it to the growing pile of Items To Be Disposed Of. It was an extremely sensible suggestion - so sensible, in fact, that the moment her back was turned, I rescued the roundabout from the Disposable Items pile and stowed it away at the back
of a cupboard. I did much the same thing, now I recall it, with an Easter present of a painted cardboard egg box, complete with tiny pieces of real egg-shells and a few fluffy-but-tatty toy chicks - a present from two of my grandchildren many years ago. No
photograph, I decided, would do either item justice.
My act of rebellion seemed justified the other day when at the end of my favourite TV programme, The Repair
Shop, a request went out for Christmas related items which could be restored by the resident experts for a seasonal programme later this year. Mr B looked at me, I looked at Mr B - we had the same instant thought. How about our Christmas roundabout? It couldn’t
be more Christmassy, with its fir tree, sleigh, presents and reindeer. It was undoubtedly in need of repair. There was nothing to lose by submitting an application form, we agreed.
Except that it was such a very detailed application form requiring lots of details of size, construction, manufacturer’s marks. I couldn’t even decide, from the drop-down menu supplied, into which of the named categories our roundabout would
fall. I was giving up the will to live when I came to a paragraph that suggested applicants might be able to fast track their submissions by sending in a short video lasting no more than 3 - 4 minutes in length.
It seemed like such a good idea - except that there was no way I could be both photographer and presenter. I needed the camera to zoom in on idiosyncrasies - like the fact that all the reindeer on
the inner ring have their antlers intact, whereas all those in the outer ring have lost either one or both their antlers. This is testimony to the way the Foursome, when littl’uns, like to lovingly stroke the poor beasts as they trotted gamely around
the Christmas tree centrepiece. Or the piece of scrappy silver tinsel, glued onto the top of the carousel when its more splendid topper came a cropper.
suggest that maybe Mr B might invoke his inner David Bailey, though filming from his wheelchair means I may have to crouch down to be visible on screen. Mr B says only if the whole pantomime can be consigned to film in just one take. This seems like a tall
order, given the complexities of the assignment. I try a DIY approach but it is hopeless; I sound as if I am whispering sweet nothings into the camera rather than showing off my treasure from the past.
I take a dispassionate look at my Christmas carousel trying to see it from the perspective of the TV programme’s researchers. It certainly isn’t an antique. It doesn’t have any historical value whatsoever.
It really isn’t the least bit precious, or special.
Except to me...