In every house there lurks a den of iniquity. A place so frightening, many never venture in; where angels fear to tread and only the brave come out unscathed.
That place is the cupboard under the stairs.
Used to house coats, boots, spare loo rolls, young wizards and boxes of ‘stuff’ that have no other place to go; it is a refuge for the abandoned and a place of secrets and mystery. It is fertile land, for in it things multiply at an uneasy rate. One jacket becomes four and bags for life double in number overnight. Fiercely protected by the kamikaze ironing board that falls out onto those brave enough to reach inside, all manner of items pay homage to the tall, upright god of understairs darkness. This god is the only thing that commands its own space and the freedom to come and go with ease. All hail the deity known as the Dyson.
There are times when battle commences and the cupboard is emptied, rearranged and left in a state of tidiness and order. It doesn’t last long. Somehow, within two weeks, floorspace has disappeared and mittens have become separated from their partners forever.
For my children it retains a Narnia-like quality. In a modern house, lacking chimneys and rooftop access, it is the place from which St. Nicholas emerges to fill their stockings and sate his endless longing for beer and mince pies. Perhaps it is true? Somewhere, beneath the piles of coats and scarves there may be a secret door to a snowy land where elves toil happily and fortune favours the brave. Well, those brave enough to fight past the precariously piled plastic tubs of things to eBay…someday….when I’ve got the time.
One glorious day I shall conquer it with shelving and hooks and the self-control not to just fling things in during frantic tidy-ups for unexpected guests. But for now it remains my nemesis and my shame.