Francis was on his knees, surrounded by piles of paper and supermarket carrier bags.
“Again?” Celia couldn’t keep hr dismay out of her voice.
Francis looked up. “First day of autumn, darling. Perfect time to turn over a new leaf.”
Celia looked for somewhere to sit down, but all the chairs were buried under mounds of paper. “The leaves don’t turn over in autumn, darling. They fall off the trees, cover everything in sight and generally make a big mess.”
“Oh, don’t be such a pessimist.” Francis was squinting at a piece of yellowed paper, looking as if he was having trouble making out the words. “We’ve been talking about decluttering for years.”
“Yes, decluttering,” said Celia. Not pulling everything out of the corners it’s been hidden in, moving it around and putting it back.”
“That’s why it’s time to turn over a new leaf,” said Francis. “Ah, this is the receipt from the chap who put up the shed. Better keep this.”
“Darling, the shed fell down five years ago.”
“Still…” Francis put the paper on top of a pile of similarly yellowed papers on the armchair, which slid on to the floor.
“Autumn,” said Celia.
Francis looked at her as if he had no idea what she was talking about.