Even if you want to keep lots of things, you still have to handle them all every now and then and wonder if it wouldn’t be better to throw them out. Over the years I have become more aware of the need to prioritize. We used to have dozens of volumes of certain periodicals in the attic, but this is pointless. (The volumes of Haagse Post were once collected by a man from Antwerp looking for background information for a novel he wanted to write.) So I should only keep unique material, like my own letters. Or things which really are still useful.

For many years a children’s bicycle had been standing in my shed. Everyone said it was mine, but oddly enough I mostly remember another bicycle, the one I got for my tenth birthday, which had sporty handbrakes. On the way to the Flushing fairground I braked so hard that I flipped the bike over. With a face full of scrapes and scratches I enjoyed the attractions with my dad and my sister.

Yet I couldn’t get myself to do away with that bike in the shed. Little nieces or nephews might want to ride it. But they didn’t. I photographed it, then put it out with the garbage. I was happy, though, that the bike had gone before the garbage truck arrived. Somewhere my little bicycle might still be riding around.