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March 31, 2020


Sending love.

" ... the very act of cleaning, organizing, and fixing has been a source of considerable psychological comfort ..."

Thank you for writing this down, kindred spirit. My intuition gently guides me to those oddly refreshing activities, too, when I feel as unsettled as I do now.

If my handwriting resembled yours, perhaps catharsis wouldn't be as far away as it presently seems. A vague decision was made yesterday to tackle the spice cupboard today; now it is today (06.51 to be precise) and that decision has become fainter.

Twenty-one years ago we moved from a 1930s three-bedroom semi in Kingston-upon-Thames to a new four-bedroom detached house with integral garage here in Hereford. Surely, we said, we'll never fill up all this space. But... well, you can guess the rest. There are only two of us and two of the bedrooms have been converted into (perhaps "used" would be more accurate) studies. Now there's profligacy for you.

I like to think I'm unsentimental but the loft proves otherwise. You be the judge. The final eleven years of my career in journalism were the most successful and enjoyable. Upstairs is a complete set of the magazines I edited during that period. In any truly committed tidy-up they'd be the first to go. But they are a permanent record of a good chunk of my life. I can't bear to think of them torn and forlorn at the dump. Rather than hook the loft-ladder and draw it down to the landing I am writing this piteous comment on your most recent post. Siren songs come in different keys.

This reminds me of my mother; once, when she had an unresolved disagreement with someone, I said, "I don't want you to brood about this." She replied, "I don't brood. I clean." On a practical note: My chef friend Bob has long said the one thing everyone could do to improve their cooking was to throw out all dried herbs and spices on a given date, once a year, and replace with fresh.

I imagine the sudden impulse to clean and put eveerything in order must be happening right now in many households, at least among those of us forunate to have a place to live. Although my normal life is not very different from the newly labelled 'self isolation' I too have been more assiduous than usual in re-arranging, throwing out, fixing, cleaning. There is definitely a sense of comfort in this process.

Oh yes, I can identify and affirm the cleaning impulse. Our spices are fine, but the files...... slowly am discarding unnecessary stuff (am I going to teach Sunday School again? No!) and also discovering interesting and happy pieces of my earlier life.

The other side of the "accomplishment" pressure is a what-the-heck feeling of freedom.....to take time to watch those buds growing, to listen to music on impulse, to be less limited by clocks or schedules.....and to respond this minute to my beloved sister.
Love you

Thank you Beth.. I also organized my spice cabinet and found great comfort in doing so.
Somehow cleaning and organized helps during this time especially since we have to spend time at home.
Always enjoy your posts.. love to you both!

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.