My contract has finished, so I am notionally a gentleman of leisure. In actual fact I am at home, trying to put things back together after the work of the painters and the carpet-layers. Most of my stuff is still in the garage, including all my books.
As I gradually bring things back in, I am taking the opportunity to have a purge of unnecessary clutter. I also want to redesign my study room somewhat. Quite how I lugged 12 bookcases down the stairs I don’t know, mind you; but they all ought to come back.
Something that I have had in my living room for nearly 20 years is a grey four-drawer filing cabinet. Back in 1997 this was a necessary evil. The government require me to keep records of my business for six years; and these had to remain somewhere. I also used it to hold the photocopies of journal articles from my Tertullian days.
But the articles all went to PDF some years ago. This week my accountant informed me that I don’t have to keep the papers in paper format. So today 5 years papers hit the bin, and an empty cabinet now stands, awaiting disposal. It feels good; but it’s just part of what I have to do.
The technical books that I have for my business may also hit the skip. Do I need a load of computer books? Really need? Or could I order them off the web if I needed them in a hurry? They do take a lot of shelf-space.
Likewise, while I have a bunch of translations of obscure texts, do I really need these? When did I last consult them? I wish there was some easy way to convert these to PDF; but if I throw them out, at least I’d get my home back.
I am enjoying the uncluttered feel of a mostly empty house!
An order for a CDROM of the Fathers and Additional Fathers came in at the weekend – inevitably when I was at maximum disruption. Yesterday I discovered that the Windows 10 upgrade made the CD files take up rather more space on a CDR than they ever used to; which meant that burning the CD was quite a challenge.
It also caused me to look at the CD, and its contents. I never wanted to sell the CD, so I priced it high to reduce demand. It is just a copy of the website, plus some image files of pages from books that I scanned, as they were in 2004 before PDF really got going. But I rather feel that I should produce a “version 2” CD. The old one is looking a little tired, and out of date.
Rejuvenating my home is hard work, especially if you do it alone, as I do. When I decided to replace the carpets, I just wanted pretty much the same as I had fitted 20 years ago. But I soon discovered that this was impossible, by wearily traipsing around carpet showrooms for a couple of weeks. I found, in fact, that I had to abandon my ideas, and go back to first principles: what sort of general colour tone – warm, cool, etc – did I want, what sort of materials, what type of carpet, and so forth; and then see what was available that matched these requirements. Things got simpler once I stopped trying to match the old carpet. The new one is much lighter than the old, which is less than ideal, but it is the best available and ticks the other boxes.
I shall have to do the same for other things, like carpets, lampshades and so forth. I can’t just dream up what I want, and then go and find it. Instead I need to draw up a non-specific list of requirements that the new lampshade (etc) must fit, and then see what is available that fits that specification. To do otherwise is to wear oneself out.
So … busy. But it had to be done. The old paintwork was acceptable, but would not be so in another ten or twenty years. And I certainly hope to live that long!
Bear with me, then, while I labour!