Thursday, 31 January 2019

I File Irritating and Unnecessary Demands

When I got home from work, I emptied crumbs from my toaster whilst hanging about the kitchen, waiting for my supper to cook. Emptying the toaster of crumbs involves removing the crumb tray (into which a thimbleful of crumbs has fallen), emptying that, and then inverting the whole thing and giving it a good shake.

In order to clean up my email inbox, I have created a folder named 'Irritating and Unnecessary Demands'.  This allows me to file irritating and unnecessary demands away from the main workings of my email correspondence. 

In most contexts - beds, tables, work surfaces, inside toasters - toast crumbs are an irritating, although necessary, by-product of toast-making and eating. 

The irritating and demanding emails do not seem to me to have the virtue of being necessary in any context apart from one in which they have been deemed necessary. This is why they are irritating. 

 When I'd shaken as many crumbs as a could from my toaster, I wiped up the pile, and put it in the bin. In terms of crumb volume, the pile may have amounted to a hot cross bun in other circumstances.

In a culture in which nothing has happened until it has been measured, I draw comfort from the small action of turning my inbox upside-down, and shaking emails into a folder which I have named 'Irritating and Unnecessary Demands'. 

Now that my toaster is clean, I'm looking forward to toasting a bun, and smothering it in butter. This is guaranteed to reduce my irritation to zero for the time being. 

Sunday, 20 January 2019

I Arrange My Mugs

When Mike made me some mug shelves, I thought he had solved my mug storage issue once and for all. However, this weekend, in-between marking and eating Lindt Salted Dark chocolate (an activity directly linked to the marking) I've been mugging about.  You see, although I have 30 more mug spaces at my disposal, I still have more mugs (et al) than spaces.

There are a number of approaches I could take to this conundrum. Let me say up front that donating mugs to any of the large number of nearby charity shops is not an option. To illustrate my point: although I do not actually like the design of the St Hugh's College mug and neither does my younger son (shelf 3, Mug Shot #1), he left it with me when he returned to university after Christmas saying that it would remind me of him in his absence. It does. (In any case, I donated another mug to him for use there. In addition, I passed on a couple of mugs to my eldest son for his Antwerp apartment back in the autumn. So I had already shown storage foresight).

   Mug Shot #1                        Mug Shot #2                        Mug Shot #3

In Mug Shot #2, I have arranged all the mugs which represent aspects of my identity on shelf 2. Thus we have Poet, Anarchy, Mum, Liz. This shelf would sum me up nicely, if I didn't undermine aspirations to be an Anarchist with my need to order my mugs by a set of rules. It's possible I'm undermining my Poet identity too by spending time sorting mugs when I could be sorting words into lines.

The rule of Mug Shot #3 is one of colour. The two rows of blue are my favourite. But this arrangement contravenes the mug rule, as, like the other mug shots, it contains objects which aren't mugs. Like jugs. 

Where I've come to is that I like this mugging about, this muggling along, this mugfulness, this living in the mugment.

Choosing mugs by coordinates (three mugs along, four shelves down) keeps my approach to tea drinking mug-half-full. The tea accompanies the marking and the Lindt Salted Dark chocolate, so there really isn't an issue at all. 

Sunday, 6 January 2019

I Pick LPs At Random

I've a new game - I go to my shelf of LPs (I've just counted and there are just over 200) and pick one at random.  I slide out the record from the packed line-up and see what I've got.

Last night, it was this:

I listened willingly, intrigued by the choice of cover. Who knew Brahms Violin concerto could induce that Saturday night, post-wedding celebration feeling? (Hogarth apparently).

This morning, it was this:

And what an awakening! Only yesterday, I was talking with my son about Stravinsky and national identity in music, and here he is, in deep conversation with Isaac Stern. 

My collection is mainly made up from records which belonged to my parents. It's a rich inheritance which sat unused for years in the attic, waiting for the vinyl revival. And now they've come into their own - move over Apple Music! Step aside Spotify and your playlists! This is where it's at: highlights from Don Giovanni sung by this crowd:

And Schubert's wonderful quintet played by a bunch of guys in the days before classical musicians had to pose, ripped and made-up, or draped over a violin:

Style is not absent from my collection. A later addition to my collection is this - picked up at a charity auction in aid of SAND - Safe Ageing No Discrimination. You might need to look them up. You won't need to look this performer up:

So I've been working and listening to LPs, and the odd EP, getting up every 20 mins or so to flip over the disc, or choose another.

And in amongst my mood has been the pervading sadness felt at the death of a dear friend this week. She's been in my thoughts constantly, but when I picked out this LP I could hear her voice clearly in my head:

"Pull yourself together Missus, for Christ's sake. Have a hot chocolate and never forget who you are or where you're headed ... "