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Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Clearing out the clutter.

Anyone else love clearing stuff and throwing it away? I do. I get a real and almost palpable sense of satisfaction from reducing clutter and extraneous items littering the house.

We were due to spend a large part of Easter weekend emptying the attic of all the items put up there before we went to Germany and deciding what we really needed and what we had successfully lived without for 12 months and therefore didn't need any more. I was strangely excited about the whole thing and so was Ken. He is usually very practically minded and not sentimental about many things so finds it easy to follow the maxim "I will have nothing in my house that I do not believe to be beautiful and know to be useful". It is a useful sieve for making decisions about items you are unsure of. It does, however, not allow you to keep sentimental things and those really are the ones that you need to be careful with. They are the items that can end up taking it up so much space - and energy looking after them, cleaning, and getting really upset about when something happens to them.

Fortunately having been away from many of these items for a year, I was surprised just how detached I fealt. There are, of course, those items that are non-negotiable: certain photos, wedding souvenirs, baby toys that I had, etc. But there are also those things that really just don't have relevance anymore. The person who gave them to you or the place where you bought them has become a far less significant part of your life and therefore any emotional attachment has diminished. Those were the items that I was able to part with.

We also disposed of a video recorder as we still don't have a tv to play one through; a clarinet that I was given and thought that I might try to learn to play one day; some plant pots, old books, some snapshot photos when I was trying to experiment with a camera and quite frankly, they didn't work, some grossly outdated teaching resources, and many other things that we just don't use any more. But what do you do with the stuff that is not binnable but also not saleable? FREECYCLE! Oh yes, this is a great thing. You know how you are clearing stuff out like extra coat hangers, for example, and you just know that there will be someone in a shop tomorrow buying some and you think, "If only I could give them mine, then it would be cheaper for them, save the landfill sites and help to stop mass commercialism and frankly be quite satisfying?" (I do anyway). Freecycle allows you to do just this. You can advertise your offers for anything that is usable but possible not saleable and others post Wanteds, anything from fridge freezers to bicycles to plant pots. Like yesterday, a lady came and collected my 4 terracotta plant pots because she wanted some for her garden . What an excellent thing! I even feel good about giving away the clarinet when it is frankly quite saleable because it is a great feeling giving things to people and bypassing money. Hallelujah!

So this weekend has been very satisfying and some people are a lot happier and the tax man will know nothing about it...

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Photos...

I have finally worked out how to load photos and film and so have added some to previous blogs. Do go and have a look...

Frankenstein walks again...

Okay, so not exactly Frankenstein (or his monster, to be more exact), but, yes, Angus has finally developed the confidence to let go and stride out on his own! We are naturally, as are all sane parents, delighted. So chuffed, in fact, that we got out the camera on video setting and recorded it for posterity. Angus is also chuffed and walking around the house bringing us things, terrorising the poor dog, who now is less safe than ever, and beaming from ear to ear, as always.


video video

Actually, we are really delighted. Although neither of us were concerned as it was obviously only a confidence thing and not inability, I was ready for Angus to move on, literally, to the next stage. There are all these things that you imagine doing as a Mum, and taking Angus walking was one of them. I wanted to be doing the walking things with him and not the pushing. Apart from anything, I was getting back ache from constantly bending over to hold his hand! Probably easier for my less tall friends.....

So, other than Angus walking, what else has been happening? Ken is still frustrated at the slowness and vagueness of his employers. He is still a bit unsure exactly what the parameters of his responsibility are and therefore exactly what he should be doing. Just when he thinks he has it pinned down, something or somebody changes them. He is hoping to be going to Germany in the next couple of weeks in order to work with his German counterparts of this but as always decisions are slow in coming and then happen all too fast.

I also went back to work yesterday. My first day's teaching in a British school for nearly two years! It was better than I expected. The school has a rough element to it but the classes I taught were not too bad. However, the teacher I was covering for must either have a somewhat warped sense of humour, or not have thought much about the poor teacher who was covering her lessons! So, let's think ... what subject would you not want to cover as a supply teacher? Hhhmmm ... oh yes! Periods!!!!! I kid you not, the teacher gave me Periods to teach to a mixed class of 12 year olds. Once we passed the "Just how embarrassed can you get a supply teacher to be?" phase of the lesson by me being more detailed and blase than they wanted me to be and thus embarrassing the asker, they were okay. But I really missed Angus and was glad to get back home where he was having a great day with my Mum who so was so excited having her Grandson around. It's working out much better having her living around the corner than we could have imagined. I probably owe her an apology really...


So, I will endeavour to be less tardy in my blogging now that the internet and our computer seem to have finally stopped arguing.

Have a great Mother's Day tomorrow.