A surprising number of cylindrical things. Pots mainly. Tins and jars and mugs.
More things: baby photos now bearing no resemblance to the real thing.
A plastic container of people.
When the children were at school and all the appliances on (the swish of the dishwasher and the washing machine, something on a very low heat in the oven ready for tea – a housewife’s work is done by ten) she would get the people out of their plastic container and arrange them on her desk.
She couldn’t do this with the children around because unfortunately some of these container people were a little free with their language and, she’d noticed it often, unpredictable in their behaviour and dress. Some were rather keen to share with the rest the sight of their bare bums. Some of her people had trouble washing, clearly; others, difficulties maintaining focus. Perhaps something degenerative was at work – she was unsure. It was disturbing and would have affected the children. She was concerned when they were older her children would realise the hypocrisy of her little fetish.
The contents of this little plastic container were – in a word – explosive.
She would carefully unscrew the lid – it was one of those ones that you had to lean on at the same time as twisting. She understood the trouble one had to go to to do this was supposed to be some kind of deterrent.
The moment of inching the lid off and letting light in on the little gang was one of the day’s pleasures.
She would let them out and line them up carefully. Some might be already awake, others still dozy and needing chivvying with the end of something pointed, some might be pleased to see her and reach their little arms up for acknowledgement. Sometimes very few would come out, or there might be rather more than she could deal with. She had to be very careful arranging their soft little bodies around her workspace. They were delicate and little hands, even heads, could easily slip right off.
At last she would have them arranged in a way that seemed to make sense, there was no regular pattern for this, she simply put them where they seemed to need to go. When all seemed ready, she would turn her back on them for some minutes as she sharpened today’s pencil.
The pencil, it must be noted, was certainly not for writing. Oh no. Nor drawing. Oh no no no no no.