Famine in the Midst of Plenty

This isn’t about what you think it will be. (Part of me hopes my blog posts are never predictable, but that’s one more vanity to be worked on.) No, this is domestic and small-scale: a reflection on the process of moving and unpacking.

We spent several weeks before we moved clearing out superfluities — things we needed in Hendred but wouldn’t here. We also discarded lots of things we should have liked to have kept but which had been ruined by damp and mould, books especially. We pruned the rest of our library (painful!); we rationalised the stock of items kept for garden parties and mass catering; we still seemed to have masses of stuff and were slightly shame-faced that we needed two vans to transport it all. Little by little we are unpacking, but always with one eye on what we can reduce further. The problem is, surrounded as we are by boxes and boxes of stuff, all neatly labelled and ordered, we can’t actually find whatever it is we need at any particular moment. There are times when we can’t even find what has already been unpacked because She Who Unpacked It (let the reader understand) forgot to tell me or Bro Duncan where she had put it.

So, we are experiencing famine in the midst of plenty. There is one good thing to be said for it, however. It has reminded us powerfully how little anyone really needs. Much of what we have — chapel and library apart — is for comfort or convenience. We have always had the rule that anything not used in twelve months should be given away or otherwise disposed of, but, of course, we become lazy or forgetful. Somehow, I suspect the local recycling centre will be seeing more of us in the coming months.

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