Thursday, 23 February 2017


Storm Doris put paid to outdoor work today, and is upsetting the cats.  Strong winds always make them jumpy and reluctant to go outside.  Instead they spent the day mostly indoors, staring out of the window, sitting in boxes, wandering around aimlessly, creeping up to me for reassurance, and rioting in turn.

I occupied myself for the first part of the morning clearing out a cache of geriatric marmalade from the garage.  I made a great deal too much in February 2011.  I don't know what I was thinking of, except that I like making marmalade and I think the first batch had come out a bit too dark and I was keen for another go.  After six years what is left had darkened to a colour close to treacle, and crystallised rock hard on to the walls of the jars.  It would have been nice just to chuck the whole lot into a bin bag, but good citizen that I am I felt obliged to scoop out what I could and put it in the food recycling bin, and put the jars to soak until I could get the solidified shards of marmalade out prior to putting the jars in the glass recycling skip.

Then I began to sort out our CD collection, thus marking myself down as deeply nerdy on at least two counts.  But it needed sorting out because it had got to the point where it was very difficult to find whatever you wanted to listen to, because as I kept buying CDs work in the same genre and even by the same artist got split between different shelves and boxes.  And as I intend to go on buying CDs I needed space to slot future purchases in.  I know it wholly unnecessary and I could buy downloads instead and help save the planet, since I am so anxious about recycling jam jars and old marmalade, but I like CDs.  I like owning a physical thing that I can put in a machine and it will work, most of the time.  I still have all my old vinyl as well.  Some of my CDs date from the earliest days of the technology and they still play, contrary to some dire predictions, while no computer I have ever owned has lasted more than five years tops.  I know I could store downloads in the cloud, but it seems so much easier just to have a small box on a shelf.  And I am not the most computer literate person and can imagine myself getting in a real muddle by the time I'd bought downloads from Presto Classical and Amazon and direct from artists websites, trying to integrate them all into one collection and keep tabs of what was being safeguarded by whom.  I trust Amazon to look after the books on my Kindle, but they won't be interested in curating music bought from other sources.

As if to preempt my thought that I should sort out the CDs the cats got the ball rolling by tipping over one of the stands the CDs live in.  Once I'd picked those up off the floor I thought I might as well keep going, and took all of them from their various shelves, racks, boxes and carousels, and spread them out over the floor in a sort of cognitive map of music.  Early music, Baroque music, Irish folk, Scottish folk, English folk.  West African folk.  Welsh folk. German classical composers. Twentieth century British composers.  1970s and 1980s rock and pop.  Folk rock.  Klezmer. Comedy. Rhythm and Blues.  Blues.  Music of the American Civil War.  1990s pop, some slightly regrettable. Touches of Country.  The frankly unclassifiable.  In general I'm not keen on putting art in boxes, but there needs to be a system.  If you were looking for Gerry Rafferty or Trio Medieval or Satie how would you know where to look?

I am going to need more boxes, that's the conclusion.  Trying to file music or books at ninety-eight per cent shelf capacity is about as inefficient as trying to run a hospital with ninety-eight per cent bed occupancy.  It can't be done.  I stole a couple of boxes the cats had been sleeping in to hold the overflow until I can get to The Range and buy some more of their useful brown faux leather boxes.

Among the marmalade I found a jar of something labelled Apple Chutney 2009.  I don't know what was in it, but since emptying the jar and trying to rinse it I can't get the smell off my hands however much I wash them.

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