Monday, 26 November 2012


I thought I'd pop in to post this, in case you'd missed it.
Scroll down to the bit where it says "Scent Lighten Up".

Friday, 23 November 2012

Spent it like the 70s - Part 8:

Dusting down the power of will.

A snowman in Africa

It's been busy here at 4160 HQ. Not so much here, as everywhere else we've been: Germany, Denmark, The Netherlands and Ireland. But at least when I'm away I can't make the house less tidy. On the other hand it can accumulate washing, floor fluff - where does it all come from? - and unopened post.

So in order to continue the long quest for less stuff, I'm invoking my long lost willpower. The last time I felt that it was in charge was when I was about 12. At that time, I'd think through the consequences before acting. Since then, it's all come apart. Recently, apart from filling up a room with my perfumery - which means that I've cluttered up the guest room so badly that actual guests have to carry out Crystal Maze-like tasks to get to the bed - I've been indulging my love of Arts and Crafts Movement pots: some hand-thrown Bretby from before they were using moulds, and some French stuff from the world's biggest car boot fair, the Lille Braderie. (No, of course, I shoudln't have gone there. I know that. I went anyway.) They've taken over the dining room table. This is impractical, as we really need it for eating. 

So once again I take a pledge of austerity, and this time my watchword is old fashioned willpower. I believe I can dredge it up, wash it down and get it working again.

At the end of last year I found myself in Cork running a workshop on plain English. At the company canteen I got a winning scratchcard and won myself a small soft toy. It was the Snowman, you know, the 'I'm walking through the air' snowman. Until that point I neither wanted nor needed a snowman soft toy. I didn't imagine I'd win it, but once he was mine, I felt quite unreasonably attached to him. One of my coursemates said that it was very rare to win one; people have been offered money for them. Another mentioned that soft toys never last long in his house as his wife runs a project for charity, packing up shoesboxes for children around the world who have next to nothing.

Rational 12-year-old willpower-driven me said, "There's no room in your house for a snowman toy; there isn't even room in your suitcase.' But hopelessly untidy, easy-to-form-attachments me said, 'I love the snowman; I won him and he's mine.' So I took him away with me. On day two. I gave him to Keiren, and the snowman is now in a shoebox on the way to Africa, where I hope he'll give some small child a great deal of pleasure, even if the small child doesn't know what a snowman is.

It's a small triumph of willpower over quite unreasonable attachment. I hope to bring news of more.