… on the garden, is how my mother once described the attraction of gardening. I’m not at all sure that doesn’t say more about my mother than about gardening.
Today I have been imposing my will on my environment by attacking large piles of old videotapes and books in my lounge, while listening to that great compilation album ‘Gutbucket’, which you have to be a certain age to remember. Lots of raw and dirty blues/rock numbers including Captain Beefheart’s classic ‘Gimme Dat Harp Boy’ and a wonderful finger-pickin’ instrumental called ‘Dismal Swamp’ by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, possibly my favourite track ever and one that it’s impossible not to dance to.
I managed to clear out an impressive number of books, largely by the expedient of getting rid of anything I thought I ought to have rather than really wanted (several Henry James’ when I don’t even much like Henry James, for instance); and just about all of my home-recorded videos of films I once thought I wanted to watch but now know I will probably never get round to watching.
Rarely as I get round to it, this kind of activity is remarkably satisfying and somehow feels like what humans were made for – to create order out of a disorderly world, to classify and arrange, to select and direct. I know it is supposed to be God’s will we do, rather than imposing ours, but are the two really mutually exclusive? God too creates order out of chaos, not only in creation but in our disordered lives and souls, and our stumbling attempts at doing likewise are perhaps an expression of God’s image in us, a feeble imitation of what God is, ultimately, doing with the world.
Although there is always the story of the visitor who admires an old man’s garden with the words, ‘Isn’t it wonderful what you and God have created together?’ ‘Ah,’ replies the old man, ‘but you should have seen the state of it when God had it to himself…’
Yes, it’s that time of year again, the time when the sandals go up in the top cupboard and the boots come down, when I rediscover all those jumpers I didn’t know I had, give away summer things I haven’t worn all summer (especially this year, when summer started in early September), find out that really, it’s still too warm for winter clothes but too cold for summer ones, and whaddya know? I haven’t got a stitch to wear..
Talking of stitches, I rang up the catalogue that sold me the jacket of which one button fell off on the first wearing and another a week later (this being the identical jacket I bought in the sale to replace the jacket I’d inexplicably lost somewhere – still with me?), and behold, after a bit of phoning around by the customer service person, they assured me that they are sending me two new buttons post haste. So it *is* still possible to get service, even in this day and age (and yes, some of us do still sew on our own buttons…)!
Items removed from son’s loft bed, which I had to risk my currently fragile back to retrieve:
4 copies PC Gamer magazine.
4 Books: How Science Works (large coffee table book, probably used for resting writing paper on rather than reading); The Lost Art by Simon Morden, bought at Greenbelt for hubby; The Spook’s Apprentice by Joseph Delaney – this is number one in a series and I’ve bought him two and three but he shows no interest in reading them; The Curious Incident of the WMD in Iraq, not normally a 13 year old’s book but he devoured it.
Writing paper with mysterious numbers and letters on it.
2 side plates missing from kitchen for some time.
One pencil, one pen (mine).
Part of a pack of Beano playing cards, mostly shoved down side of bed and impossible to retrieve without contortions. Why not the whole pack?
3 cuddly toys he’s never, ever cuddled.
A Tupperware-type container, also missing from kitchen, full of cottage cheese at least several days old, uneaten. Eugh.
Assorted crumbs, crumpled tissues, etc.
I suppose it could be worse. A friend found a Wonderbra in her teenage son’s bed.