MoorLaughter & View from the Whitehouse

Maggy Whitehouse
Maggy Whitehouse


A month to go, and the stage is set for ‘Moorlaughter’, an evening of comedy hosted by The Moorlander Newspaper.

The event takes place on the 16th of December at the Jubilee Hall in Chagford, with five comics including our own columnist Maggy Whitehouse headlining. Maggy, apart from being a writer and radio presenter on BBC Radio Devon, also has a one person show ‘The Maggy Whitehouse Experience’ which has played at the Edinburgh Fringe to rave reviews.

Tickets for ‘Moorlaughter’ will soon be available from Sally’s newsagents in The Square, Chagford. Tickets cost £15.00 to include nibbles and a glass of wine on arrival. Doors open at 7.30pm and the show starts at 8pm, a paying bar is available.

View from the Whitehouse

I’d be the first to admit that ours isn’t the tidiest house in Devon — after this week with two American friends staying it’s festooned with muddy borrowed boots, drying bedding, tourist brochures and all the strange rocks that they felt impelled to pick up … and then had to leave behind.

But it’s not too bad. There’s room for a car in the garage although it’s not a car that’s entirely operational.

The Dyson does a sterling job in picking up the dogs’ hairs in the house but there’s never going to be a day when the carpet is actually clean.

The bathroom is as pristine as it can be when you’ve got a septic tank and bleach is a complete no-no and the outside loo is basically a fodder store for dogs, cats and chickens with the occasional visiting mice and hysterics from my mother.

However, this month I discovered what real clutter is. Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a situation so surreal you think you must be on TV?

I’m talking about one of those strange ‘Hoarders’ and ‘Clean Sweep’ type shows where folk live about six feet up in what was once their hallway with a caravan of camels required to navigate to the kitchen.

Last week I offered to help a former colleague clear out her flat. She is moving to sheltered accommodation so needs to downsize from three rooms filled to the ceiling with clutter to four rooms she can actually live in.

To give you a clue of how bad the situation was, she had to spend £5,000 on a team of three professional clearers working for four days after I gave up. This is an intelligent woman who has held a responsible job as an accountant at the local council, not some mad cat lady floating around in purple with too many buttons.  She just lost the plot along the way. About 25 years ago.

Most of the clutter was paper but in my five hours in her home, I uncovered 27 pairs of Pretty Polly tights still in their packaging (I’ve known my colleague for 25 years and never once seen her in a skirt); 17 pairs of leggings; six manicure sets; two unopened Windows tablets; four unused Le Creuset saucepans, 13 neckscarves and a brand new mattress that she bought 20 years ago and had no idea she possessed.

As you can imagine, discovering the floor was a fairly major enterprise.

I was there for five hours, simply picking up each object I found and checking if she were willing to let it go to a charity shop.

How many carrier bags did we fill with stuff she was willing to release in those five hours? Three. And one of those bags contained gifts for me in return for trying to help.

She’s now got rid of three quarters of her stuff thanks to the professionals. And if you need to restock your house and wardrobe from top to bottom I’d suggest you haunt the charity shops in Exeter for the next week or so.

Apart from the mattress that is … that’s now in our garage propped up against the not-working Subaru. And you have my absolute permission to come and remove it (and the car) if we haven’t used it by Christmas.

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