I ask the Senior Cat. He has been saving the blue and red lids of the plastic milk containers for a very long time now. My own feeling is that he could have stopped doing it long ago but, being a dutiful daughter, I have said nothing.
"No, I think I might have enough," he tells me. Magic words! I toss them into the recycle before he can change his mind.
The Senior Cat hoards things. His middle name should be "jackdaw". Things "might be useful one day" and they are often the most unlikely things.
He also hoards timber - often given to him by other people - and all the things that go with timber. He doesn't hoard it in a selfish manner. If people need something he will give timber away. He will make things for people, indeed he loves making things for people.
Yesterday someone asked me if the Senior Cat had "enough timber". I just looked at the man who was asking and he gave a sheepish sort of smile. Yes, his wife was trying to persuade him to give some timber away. This man is twenty-three years younger than the Senior Cat.
"Don't you want to keep it?" I asked.
"Well, I'd like to but you know how it is...She Who Must Be Obeyed thinks I have too much. And we will have to do something about the tree."
A fourteen metre high tree came down in the backyard during the storm. It has caused a considerable amount of damage to their property and that of a neighbour. It was classed as a "significant" tree and, because it was "significant", they could not do anything with it. Even trimming it required permission.
The neighbours do not blame them for the damage but both households are upset because, despite the obvious danger, the council had refused them permission to touch the tree. The "experts" had decided nothing to need to be done and that it did not pose a danger...even when the tree was showing signs of age and heat related stress. Now they are facing an enormous bill to clean up the mess, repair the sheds and fences and gardens which have been damaged.
"Offer the timber to the mob who want to repair the clipper," muttered one of the men looking at the mess.
Everyone knew he was not serious but they knew what he meant. The clipper, the City of Adelaide, arrived two days ago. She is a wreck but she was once a clipper that sailed between Australia and the United Kingdom. Money was raised to bring her from Scotland to Australia on the deck of a much larger vessel. It has been an enormously expensive operation. Restoring her, even to the point where she can just be seen as a wreck, will be even more expensive. I don't see it happening and I suspect the people looking at the fallen tree feel the same way.
Yes of course she is part of our heritage and an important part of our maritime and social history. I happen to think history is important - and that children need to know a lot more of it than they are currently taught.
I also believe that we need to be realistic. We don't have the money to save the clipper and, like the tree, it might have been better to do something different and save the money.
I left the men standing around discussing strategies for removing the tree. Sadly there are some things you can't save.