There was once a show on British TV called ‘Cash in the attic’, in which people would rummage through all the stuff in the roof space and then attempt to sell it at auction. There never was any significant cash in the attic, of course, because the stuff up there had been put there because it was either knackered or old tat. That’s why it was in the attic, and not the British Museum.

Moving house this weekend, I inevitably came across, in the attic, a box of childhood toy cars. Opening that box reminded me that the attic of the house is really the attic of the soul, full of things we’d rather not confront, yet somehow cannot discard. I was suffused with deep melancholy looking at these simple toys, because they’re totemic, and represent a time and a state of mind that cannot be regained, ever. But I thought I’d share a few highlights with you anyway, to exorcise the demon of sentimentality.

‘Not buried in the garden or swapped for cigarettes’

Lest you think it odd that a boy looked after his toys as well as I appear to have, well; I think these must have been the ones I especially treasured. That’s why they’re in the box, and not buried in the garden or swapped for cigarettes or melted down in an experiment to make prehistoric arrow heads. Some of these are from childhood, and some may have been comedy gifts for teenage birthdays. Whatever; I don’t think anything in these pictures is under 40 years old, and it’s that long since I’ve seen them.

What next? I could buy a glass-fronted cabinet and make an interesting display. But I’ve decided to pack them all back into the box and put them in the next attic. That way, when I die, they’ll be easier for someone to throw away.

Corgi Rover P6 from the Golden Jacks range. You could change a wheel. We were poor and we were miserable.

Rover SD1 by Corgi Juniors (left) and Matchbox.

Countach by Matchbox (left) and Majorette.

Trio of Matchbox Roycers.

Ferrari 308 GTB - the only one of my toy cars that I went on to own for real.


Majorette VW ambulance.

Matchbox Tow Joe futuristic breakdown truck.

Siku truck ’n’ trailer. There were some dried-up sweets under the tarps.

Matchbox Superkings container lorry.

Siku Maserati Boomerang.

Matchbox Citroen SM in brown. It was the 70s.

Matchbox Porker 928.

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