Wednesday, 25 January 2017

tidy desk, tidy mind

It was foggy again this morning, but this time the fog hung around all day, so it's a good thing I saw to the bees yesterday.  It was so damp and cold that even Mr Cool objected to going out.  Instead all three kittens wandered about the house disconsolately with only occasional outbreaks of wrestling to break the monotony, plus one unfortunate episode when I exchanged my new house shoes for some outdoor shoes to go and put food on the bird table, and came back inside to find Mr Cool chewing one of them.  They are Danish, made of one hundred per cent wool felt with calfskin soles, in petrol blue, and extremely cosy.  They are basically slippers, but I suppose they are marketed as house shoes because that sounds more upmarket and reassuringly hygge.  In contrast wearing slippers all day might mark you out as ill, slovenly, or a benefits scrounger.  The house shoes (or slippers) are washable, with the rather marvellous advice to vacuum them first, but it remains to be seen whether I can keep them respectable or whether they become very slovenly indeed as they accrete ash, soot, dust, and fur, culminating in the moment when I accidentally drop cat food on them.

Meanwhile I tidied my desk.  Now I've finished the contrast with what it was like before is so great I wish I jolly well had stuck to my idea of photographing it every day.  It was a proper tidy, going through all the lose stuff on the desk plus the pile of paper in my filing tray plus the wallet of paper that should have been in the filing tray but was shoved in a folder to save it from the cats.  The top deck of the filing tray had cracked, finally falling victim to the weight of cat trying to sleep in it, but I solved that problem by swapping the top and bottom trays over.

I found all sorts of things.  There was a large mysterious piece of plastic that the Systems Administrator said had come off an old printer and was rubbish.  A small mysterious piece of plastic that the SA said was an in-car phone charger and kept.  Several railway books belonging to the SA. Nearly a year's worth of bank statements, joint bank statements and credit card statements which shows how long it is since I did any filing.  Assorted financial statements I need for my tax return which was why I could not put off tidying the desk any longer.  Old plant catalogues I don't need to keep.  Recent plant catalogues I will keep for now.  Pieces of paper with notes about various plants written on them that needed to be transcribed to a more permanent record.  A small rectangle of plywood, origins and purpose unknown.  A screwdriver.  Our annual electricity summary.  Our annual water statement.  Old magazines from various clubs I belong to, which I threw away after scrupulously ripping up any pages that had personal contact details on them.  The eighteen-month guarantee for my previous watch battery which showed me that the old battery had run out five days after the guarantee expired, and that the price of watch batteries had risen by an extortionate amount.  My birthday cards (my birthday was over four months ago).  New terms and conditions from my bank and then even newer terms and conditions replacing the previous new ones.  A card with the dates of green waste collections in 2017, and a booklet detailing what waste now would and wouldn't be accepted at which Essex recycling centres.  The house insurance renewal.  A card from the cat rescue centre with the kittens' birth date on it.  The plastic base of my 2016 Zen desk calendar, allegedly recyclable.  A small 2016 desk calendar with pictures of Korats on it including some of my aunt's, a present from my aunt, that used to live on the ice cream making machine.  A new spiral bound garden lecture notebook with a snazzy red cover with white dots.  An unsolicited notebook from the woodland charity for recording people's thoughts about trees, still empty.  My old iPod docking station that I wasn't sure whether to keep or not, since the speakers were quite good but the iPod was broken.  The old iPod, now stuck on playing nothing but Philip Glass.

Eventually every piece of paper had been read and checked to see if it could be thrown away, and every piece that had to be kept had been filed somewhere vaguely sensible.  The wooden articulated artist's model was back on his stand after spending the second half of last year lying down in two bits.  Months' worth of dust and cat fur had been wiped away.  It actually looks like a desk, a working platform, rather than a kitten's playground cum rubbish tip.  I told myself that I really should be more organised about keeping my filing up to date, and more decisive about disposing of out of date or broken things.  We shall see.

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