I have been offline and away in Paraparaumu, clearing out the last of the furniture and personal effects from when we sold the family house last December. The chattels had been packed/stored in a secure lockup - 3m wide x 6m long x 2m high (about the size of a one-car garage). I drove down there from Auckland and back, stopping off for a break, as is my wont, at my favourite hot pool, Butcher's Pool, on the way down, but not on the return leg as I was a bit pressed for time. (In the photo album on the right there are a couple of photos of Lily at Butcher's Pool).
The clear-out took pace over the period from just before to just after the New Year. Having done it, I feel like I have sloughed off another residual weight from my shoulders. We become attached to things and I found it a bit depressing, having to make decisions - some of which were quite tough for me - about disposal. Selling or giving away to charity (e.g., Salvation Army shops) things which had intrinsic personal value is not easy. I don't have the space for so much stuff where I live now, but I ended up keeping approx. 25% of the books. I reluctantly and sadly relinquished my collection of SF books.
I also picked up a half-size violin for Lily that was for sale at $100 at Cash Converters (a sort of pawnshop franchise operation) in Paraparaumu. I saw it for sale when I went there to sell some stuff from the lockup. Lily had told me some time back that she wanted to play a violin, and I had surreptitiously priced the half-size violin at about $250 for new one, so this looked like quite a decent buy. It needs one new string (one is broken) and some resin for the bow. It has it's own rather worn case, but is otherwise in good nick and has an additional padded chin rest. The bow has lost a few horse-tail hairs though, but not enough (I think) to affect its playability. Lily was so delighted that I had got it for her that she gave me huge hugs and lots of kisses. Good job that I was listening to her when she mentioned it. Now I must get a "How to Play Violin" book and a new string. I think the book can be found at Hard to Find Books, (an excellent used books store) and the string at one of the music stores, all of which are in my locale.