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Apparently some people make a living these days de-cluttering. That is, helping others to get rid of stuff they can’t bear to part with. Sooner or later we all have to get rid of stuff, even if it’s on behalf of a friend or relative who has managed to evade this necessary act. We hear tales of people addicted to collecting and acquiring, whose rooms are packed with old newspapers, clothing bought online, “bargains” and just plain refuse, that they can no longer get in to the rooms. Or, worse, get out of them! So the de-cluttering professionals perform a helpful service, and get paid for it, armed as they are with black bin bags, and absolutely no sentimental connection with the things they put in them.

But some of us bravely attempt to make space for ourselves in our garages, lofts and spare rooms, in a spirit of virtuous self-cleansing. Possibly, we are taking pity on our children and saving them the effort, when the time comes for us to down-size. Maybe they have put us to shame already, and threatened us with coming to clear us out if we won’t do it ourselves (“Oh Mumr/Dad,,,!!” they cry).

The funny thing is, after we have cleared the garage (or wherever) and have lots of lovely space, we stop. And amazingly, when we return a few weeks later, that space has magically been filled up again! We can’t possibly have put things there – can we? My theory is that there is some sort of reproductive force at work. Nature, it is said, abhors a vacuum. The world generates stuff to fill up the spaces we have carefully cleared. Where it all comes from is a mystery. The world is as full of mysteries as it is of stuff to replace what we have thrown away. It is a 21st century version of the Greek myth of Sisyphus’ stone, which he was forced to push up a hill, only for it to roll back down just before the top!

I have several such theories about the irrational way the world works. I’ll come back to this one later – when I’ve tackled that garage for the umpteenth time!
William Marsterson


The roof on my cottage was looking a bit sorry for itself and along with some marks on a ceiling, which I thought might be water marks, I decided action was called for; so I arranged for some quotes for a new roof. It transpired that a friend knew a roofer so he came round and gave me a quote and got the job.

In preparation for work to start, my wife and I decided to empty the loft as we anticipated that there would be a bit of mess as the cottage is 118 years old. Well with the help of our son in law and his two sons clearing began. We found baby grows, maternity clothes (my daughter’s), 5 old SKY boxes, off cuts of carpets, nearly empty tins of paint, 3 old kettles, old hats, 2 inflatable beds, books, pictures (some still wrapped in bubble wrap from being moved from our old house) and ornaments.

So after 5 trips to the dump with the car full to the brim to get rid of it all I reflected it would have been so much easier to have put it all in the correctly coloured bin or taken it to the charity shop bit by bit over the years.

Why oh why do we do it!

Grumpy Grandad.