It’s a job I have been quite literally putting off for years. No, decades. Clearing up the attic. There’s little in there except the debris of my and my brother’s respective childhoods. Children’s storybooks, school exercise books, diaries, chemicals, that sort of thing. Many of the comic strips we drew as kids too. Stuff now in a state of considerable disorganisation. I mean considerable. At some point a bird built a huge nest in the middle of it.
I hope it was a bird.
Stuff that is either worthless or priceless, depending on your viewpoint and/or mood. So I’m not cleaning out so much as cleaning and putting back in. It’s an archival exercise really – finding out what’s here, categorizing it in case anyone ever, you know, actually wants it for something, and securing it from further depredations by moisture and lifeforms.
Repairing the damage these did in the past is a big part of it too. Many of the books are slightly foxed, and thoroughly badgered. It’s amazing how many ways paper can go wrong, particularly the fungoid ways. I’m now familiar with an enormous variety of moulds, smuts, blights and ergots. If I spontaneously disintegrate into a puddle of decay, you’ll know why. Then there are the ones that have been mined by bookworms. Actually that’s a misnomer, there’s no such thing as a bookworm. The holes are made by woodworm, for whom paper must be literally fast food, a sort of habitable cheeseburger. And behold, keep turning the pages and you reach the mummified bodies of fat little worms, starved to death with their mouths full.
Vitamin tree deficiency.