ALAN WRIGHT: Picture this - a loft full of ‘treasures’

My old camera in the loft.
My old camera in the loft.

A few friends have taken the decision to “downsize” recently and moved to a house which is smaller and easier to handle as the years catch up.

All of them have said that it’s a monster job to take on and the biggest surprise was just how long it took to decide what could be kept and what would be thrown out.

Modern houses tend to be less generous in storage provision and those of us who live in older homes are lucky to have masses of storage capacity in the roof spaces.

The name we give to those elevated warehouses seems to vary through the country but, to me, it’s always been “the loft” rather than the attic, or whatever.

As well as Christmas decorations and other miscellaneous items, it’s always been the place where things go “just in case they come in for something in the future”.

Last Sunday afternoon, I had a spot of loft rummaging to do, and, luckily, our elder grandson Joshua was on hand.

He’s a great help now, especially as he’s nearly 16, taller than me, and a long way from being beset by the reduced agility which hits those of us over 30.

I went up the ladder like a pensive warthog and he jogged up like a young gazelle.

He hadn’t been up there since he was a toddler and he now saw it with new eyes and kept emitting cries of pleasure when he found items of interest.

Times change so quickly that we often forget that objects which were in everyday use not that long ago are now, literally, museum pieces.

The first thing he found was an old camera in a leather case – an Ilford Sport 120 - quite the thing in its day, but now superseded by mobile phones, which probably take much better photographs.

Just to prove it, the picture with the column was taken with my iphone!

He sat enthralled as I told him about the routine of buying a film from the chemist’s and then going into the dark cupboard under the stairs at home to load it into your camera without it being spoiled by a shaft of light.

The idea that you could only take a dozen or so pictures on your camera seemed weird to him too, and it also explained why us silver surfers take time in composing a snap rather than firing it off like a machine gun as the kids do.

I explained to him that amateur photography was anything but an instant process in those days, and he looked genuinely bemused as I told him about the routine of dropping your finished film off at the chemist’s counter and then going to pick it up days later.

Even then, of course, you’d find that some of your pictures hadn’t “come out” as they were over-exposed or out of focus.

His next great loft discovery was a box of floppy discs, no idea why I’ve kept them, and I felt like the ancient mariner as I explained this early way of storing computer information.

Now that he’s found an enthusiasm for being a loft explorer, this could be useful.

It won’t be long before the Christmas tree and boxes of decorations need to come downstairs, and I think I know just the young chap to do it.