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. 

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