Torrential rain again, in our delightfully floodprone street. We've only lived here a few weeks but the neighbours, old hands at this, have told us that one more downpour and they expect a flood. So it's time to move the valuable stuff upstairs.
Which begs the question: what is valuable to this family, precious and/or irreplaceable, as opposed to merely expensive? All the obvious things - TV, stereo, all that - are covered by insurance. Which leaves us with the things no insurance company could replace.
So far in the queue to go upstairs we have: all the photographs (from Olden Times, pre-computer storage); the box of still unpacked and unhung pictures pictures; lots of books. Could in theory be replaced on insurance, but we'd never remember the exact mix we've acquired over three decades of reading, and even if we did they'd never have that lovely wellworn feel old paperbacks get, never fall open at the favourite page.
A file of dull paperwork: birth certificates, tax records, bank statements, bla. My journalist's contact book, obviously: phone numbers that took me 15 years to wheedle out of people.
Then it gets more eclectic.
About 20 assorted jars of jam and chutney (results of a bumper crop from the plum tree in the garden of our last house). Yes, I know jam is available at the corner shop. But this is different: it represents a stab at domesticity among the chaos this summer, and reminds me of the old house which I loved.
The Christmas decorations under the stairs. We can always buy more tinsel. But not another fairy like the one we've had for years (admittedly non-traditional: it's a bearded Action Man in a white frock, bought in Soho: long story). Not the lights my husband and I bought the first Christmas we spent together, which probably don't even work now, but anyway.
The blanket chest inherited from my greataunt, even though the dog chewed the corners as a puppy so it looks a bit scruffy. A fistful of children's paintings. Nil for artistic merit, but that's not the point.
As for what we're leaving downstairs, personally am willing to sacrifice my husband's Xbox to the flood, plus a copy of Babar and the Christmas House (the boy has insisted on reading this three times a day for a month now: am heartily sick of the elephant dictator).
Debate rages re the dog: leave him downstairs as usual at night, so he can bark at the first sign of water and rescue entire household, Lassie-style? Or not, given that he is both stupid and very fond of water, and more likely to paddle around happily while the laptop floats past him into the street?
But anyway. Nothing else on the 'rescue' list is worth more than a fiver, but it turns out these are the things we would least like to lose.
So what would you save in a flood/fire/act of God?