Wednesday, 7 January 2009

The manifold pleasures of the scatty mind

I am having a tidy up. Well, sort of. SD4 and family will be here tomorrow for an overnight stay before flying back to their foreign clime. They have all been staying down the beach - lucky things, and I wish I could persuade their father to go there too, but alas no. I have to get things off the floor, off all the surfaces and make sure that there is nothing the live wire can damage or use to damage herself. All the ornaments will have to be put out of reach. Things must be put away. Etcetera. 

But back to the tidying up. Perhaps I have a scatty mind - actually there is no perhaps about it - and I always have a lot of things on the go at once. I'd made a cake, a honey spice cake, but although I cooked it at the recommended temperature for 10 minutes less than the specified time, it is overcooked and did not rise. I HATE that. This is the same oven that undercooked my friend's cakes some weeks ago. What does it think it is doing? Perhaps the oven has reached the end of its working life. If so, I know how it feels, but it does not mean I am sympathetic to its condition. I can see I will have to experiment on a few more cakes. That won't do the weight any good, notwithstanding the alcohol-free week so far. Another possibility is that the cake tin is too large, so I will have to go to one of the sales and get something a trifle smaller. The Peter's of Kensington sale starts next week - this gives me a good excuse to go.

And the cake was not as nice as it promised to be on the printed page. I hate that, too. All that anticipation wasted.

A friend came over for lunch and then Dr P went off for one of his many naps. I sat about perusing travel books, wondering what might be a feasible itinerary if SD3 and I manage to work out her kind offer to come and Dr P-sit. 

After the stress of contemplating possible itineraries, I needed a break, obviously, so browsed through a few of the books that are lying around. That was fun (apart from the depressing thought resolutely pushed to the back of my mind that I will never succeed in reading all my books. The trouble with the scatty mind is that I am interested in an enormous number of subjects, and I buy books all the time - new, and second hand, and even when I wonder whether I should give some of them away, I ask myself who else that I know might be interested in any of them. The answer tends to be remarkably few people. This gives me the perfect excuse to keep the lot. And, having been in the business for umpty years of providing information on request, I absolutely have to look things up all the time. You need a lot of books to be able to do that. After all, Wikipedia doesn't know everything. I need to know something about the state of the Italian language in Dante's time (this year's Italian class) and there was not all that much available on line.

One of the problems is that despite living in this large house and there  being only two of us, and despite having a lot of bookshelves, I am running out of space. So the books have to go up to three rows  deep per shelf. Then there are the books in the cupboards. It is easy to forget what books I actually have. When I remember, then I have to find them. I do find them, but it is easy to surrender to distractions. I had to look up 1066 and All That recently - something to do with Waves of Danes, etcetera, and now of course, I cannot put it down. Until I pick up something else, of course. Or start to blog...

One of the bookshelves actually looks fairly tidy now, but the floor doesn't. As well as tidying the books, getting dangerous objects out of reach, I have LOTS of bits of paper to sort out. This is a disaster zone. There are receipts, my household accounts, concert programs, the Monet Exhibition programme, a fair swag of my Italian class work, letters, cards, old magazines, and of course the actual stuff that can be thrown out.  There are a number of piles on the floor, and these piles need good homes. Let me put my shoulder to the wheel, my nose to the grindstone, gird my loins and grit my teeth, as they say in the classics. It will get done.


Mary said...

Your house and my house are related!

Rhubarb Whine said...

I am a dedicated and addicted declutterer. I will pop over and 'do' your cupboards anytime. Just don;t blame me if you can't find anything :)

Group blogger & Seerat Basir said...

great work, excellent blog.

Pam said...

I think that activating shoulder, nose, loins and teeth all at once might be overdoing it.

Do you think I could persuade Rhubarb Whine to come and declutter my cupboards too? Is she anywhere near Edinburgh?

My verification word is Degrap, which must mean getting rid of all the stuff one doesn't need, surely?

persiflage said...

Well, Isabelle, you just have to make cliches work FOR you!
I like the concept of related houses, too. It would be fun to work with a dedicated unclutterer, just so long as we can carefully define the meaning of clutter.