Yes, adoring readers and/or fans, I will be leaving Montreal forever* on the 7th November or thereabouts. Then on the 16th November I start what is known in some circles as "a new job". What is exciting about it is that it is:
1. not what I was expecting to do at all, not in a million years
2. not what I have done for the last nearly 30 years, but is in the same 'field' (i.e., to do with the people without doing the actual work)
3. something all my friends have gone HA HA HA OF COURSE why didn't we think of that
4. in London so can see all oldest friends at drop of hat and 40 quid Uber fare to East London
5. allows a person to remain non-working in their heart.
I won't tell you what it is but you can try and guess if you like. Point (3) may give you some clues. Suffice to say there will be a period of 'retraining' as I learn my new 'skillz' so I am not home and dry yet, not by any stretch of the imagination. In other news, items are as follows:
Robin The Removal Man
Referred by friends with exacting standards and a lot of books, Robin the Removal Man is 71 and follows you round your house with a clipboard saying things like:
- Do you REALLY want to keep that?
- Are you SURE you have checked in all the drawers?
- What is in THAT BOX?
- And THE CAT? Is it going too?
- Don't ship things JUST TO THROW THEM AWAY
- You haven't got a WINE CELLAR you haven't told me about, have you? (Answer: why would you store it when you can drink it down glug glug)
He is ace. It is like having a very chatty uncle who knows more about moving than anyone else in the world.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organising
I spent c. $13 on this book having read an article about the author, a lady called Marie whose main hobby as a child was tidying up. The book was a bit of a let-down as it contains lot of chat about socks having feelings and thanking your t-shirts but not many pictures.
She has her own version of "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful" which obvs we all know because we are not idiots. Hers is something to do with only keeping things that "spark joy", but by that definition I'd live in a house with nothing but bottles of Viejos Robles cornershop wine (c. $10), the veterinary pathologist to whom I am married, and back issues of Which? Magazine so you can ignore that, but I was very interested by the following pieces of information:
Tidy up by category not by room. This has really changed the way I do things. I hate tidying but it has become fun (that or I am actually losing my mind). For e.g., get ALL your clothes out from whatever room they are, lay them ALL out, and have a really good look. Then you can apply my WIP rules about getting rid:
- you look like a twat in it
- you actually really dislike wearing it
- it doesn't fit
- you have never worn it (e.g. 30 denier navy blue tights in a 3 pack from M&S 4 sizes too small)
- you can't even imagine wearing it as a joke as part of a fancy-dress outfit in which you are being Betty Ford Clinic-era Liz Taylor OR a cheeky matelot OR a pumpkin
- you haven't worn it since you last moved continents in 2006
- it has cat wee on it.
(Do you have more rules? Do share. I think people are interested. I know I am.)
Fold that shit properly. This is the best bit. T-shirt video here. Do it. Fold your socks. If you do it that way already you are a better person than me, for realz. And you will have loads more room in your drawers.
Do not categorize clothes that are a bit shit as 'loungewear' and keep them. I can't remember what she says exactly but it's a very lady-like version of: "girlfriend, self-respect starts with not spending your life in baggy track pants and gigantic stained t-shirts with holes in - get some fucking pyjamas!". She is right, with the exception of much-loved things that might be falling apart. But if you wouldn't have a drink with them it if it were a person, you can probably recycle it.
Avoid 'storage solutions'. This is actually very true and gave me quite a shock. Buying pretty boxes etc to store stuff in is expensive and is just a means of avoiding the real tidying and sorting. I have many boxes of such stuff, mainly full of coloured pencils and cards with cats on bought in a sale in Yorkshire in 1994.
Renting A Flat In London
You do not need me to tell you that this is a joke. If you do not want to live in a flat full of depressed cockroaches with bloodstained sofas, you have to spend the equivalent of $5,000 a month and that's with a 2 hour commute. On the other hand there's usually a Waitrose and/or a Gregg's within 5 miles, so it's worth it.
That is the update for now. If you have any informations to share I am ready for them. Until then, I remain over-excited and unfocused, as if left alone in a Hula-Hoop factory overnight.
Pip pip !
* excluding bi-annual visits to view mother-in-law and all Canadian friends