Monday February 27, 2006
They’ve been talking up snowstorms on the weather forecasts this past couple of days, predicting heavy snowfalls from Scotland down the East coast as far as East Anglia and nibbling in to hit us. Certainly the cold wind is in line with that even though the sun is gaining strength every day. Keep out of the wind and you could almost sun bathe. Even so…
“I think I’d like to bring our provisioning trip forward and get it done today,” I said. “Don’t want to be snowed up with empty cupboards.”
“Right you are. Something to do, anyway, until the packing cases turn up.”
And so off we went over well-trodden country roads over to the Tesco’s store on the outskirts of Boston. I picked up food for five days, six or seven if you count pasta-and-can possibilities, and reckoned the exercise a success.
“If it snows tomorrow or the day after we’ll consider this a job well done,” I said as we waited at the checkout.
“Worth doing anyway. With an uninterrupted run I reckon we could pack everything up in seven or eight days.”
“That’s a startling thought.”
Thinking about it since, I’m coming to the view that what’s startling about it is that it would take so long to pack up ready for a move. In my bedsit days I could do it in a single evening, and get everything I owned into a small van or a large car.
Not that I’d in any way want to return to bedsit days but it does make a chap think.
Back home I was delighted to be able to negotiate a new home for our remaining goldfish. The incoming people don’t seem too keen on them, or the pond, and I’d spread the word along the lane. A mate of G’s is keen and is to visit shortly with a net and a bucket, seeking to repopulate his pond after an intensive visit from the local heron. “If he can catch ’em, he can have ’em,” I said, to G’s great amusement.
The rest of the day I spend happily sorting through the contents of my desk drawers and the cupboards in the study, pulling out stuff that I don’t want to keep. Papers, mostly, destined to be shredded and recycled. The rest can go over to the dump on our next trip.
At the back of one drawer I discovered a box absolutely stuffed with assorted pencils and ballpoint pens that I packed up dutifully on the last move, or the one before. More pens than the most dedicated scribbler could use in a full lifetime.
Goodness knows why I don’t junk these things as they turn up rather than sticking them into a drawer. I have a fountain pen. Actually, I have three fountain pens. I have a bottle of ink. I even have a small pad of blotting paper. I almost never use ballpoint pens these days. I don’t need and will never need a box full of them and the only thing that makes me hang on to them is the antique and completely obsolete thought that a pen is a precious thing, to be kept safe, and treasured.
When I was a kid in my tens we had only one pen in the house. As I moved into my teens I acquired a pen of my own, then a set of calligraphy pens and then the first leaky example of an endless series of ballpoints. We called them biros back then. And, truth to tell, it’s been a long downhill slide of casual acquisition ever since, culminating in the great bundle of perfectly good pens I consigned to the rubbish sack today.
There’s at least one moral there but I’m not inclined to follow it through. No time. Need to find all the other useless small stuff I’ve hoarded over the years… and dump that, too.
Taking the after-dinner trash out last thing before closing down for the night I stood for a while and sniffed the breeze.
“Darned if I can smell snow in the air,” I said when I came back into the warmth of the kitchen.
“Many a mickle maks a muckle,” Graham replied.
“What on eath does that mean when it’s at home?” I asked.
“I dunno. It’s one of those things you tend to come out with when you can’t think of anything better to say.”
“I’m sure I don’t.”
“I’m sure you do.”
“Ah well. Hey ho.”
“See? Told you so.”
And there’s nothing more to be said about that.
|“Take a snap of the river for me, please,” I asked,
having left my camera at home.