Maison de Valérie
Arriving with Ninja Kitten at the crack of dawn, the sun already beating down on us, we made our way through the overgrown garden to this abandoned house and through the doorway, the door long having been taken off and lay up against an exterior wall. On forst inspection, the house was obviously lomg abandoned, with smashed windows and extensive decay throughout. It also looked as if people had been inside and ransacked the place with objects thrown all over the floors and fireplaces ripped out. A sad state of affairs but still there was much to see and photograph and secrets to unearth about this former home, now slowly giving way to nature's forces.
The most fascinating room was Valeries. Her bedroom still full of toys from her childhood, school books, magazines and the usual items a young lady would have. Looking through her scrapbooks from school, the usual scribblings of love affairs with boys as she entered into her teenage years. Its unusual for a child's room or younger person's room to still have everything in it. I've seen it before in the heart of Wales and it really is a puzzle as to why everything has been left inside presumably after she had left to live her life leaving her father there to see out his final days. Did Valerie have no interest in claiming the house as her own inheritance? Was she not interested to retrieve her posessions and her father's? Unanswered questions.
Valerie loved films and in particular James Dean. Downstairs was a quite remarkable scrapbook of James Dean cuttings and postcards, collected over years of infactuation with the film star. Such a shame that a lovingly complied book was just left to the elements and not kept by Valerie.
It seems her father was an avid collector of books and had an interest in photography. Downstairs was a dark room in a back room but completely smashed in and not warranting being photographed. Items relating to dark room development lay scattered around various rooms along with books on photography and vintage cameras; film cameras of course. Again, it's always sad to see a lifetime of collecting and passion just left behind with no one to look after it or part with it to a good home. It reminds me of my own mortality and what will happen to my various collections of things, especially my photography gear and vinyl. Hopefully that won't be an issue for quite some time!
Is Valerie still alive? Who knows. The young girl with her love for film stars may be living elsewhere now, grown up and living a joyful life. I still wonder why she hasn't ever felt the desire to reclaim her childhood souvenirs of such an important and magical part of her life.