A Tidy House


The opening season is about to start on May 1. This means, after months
of untidiness, we have to get the house organised for visitors.
Actually, not that hard after several years’ practice but what gets out
of hand are the books. I review them, I get sent them gratis and I buy
them. So, in the library, there is a pile of perhaps 50 paperbacks in a
heap on the floor. They will have to be found a home. All the cupboards
are full, all the chests are full and I have sent a whole pile to
charity. I am unwilling to give more away because I re-read them. The
only book I have actually put into the rubbish was a review copy which
the printers had so mangled that it was unreadable: pages duplicated,
pages missing and no kind of order.

We need to get even the unseen areas of the house under control and I
have been doing that: organising our wine cupboard and throwing out
cardboard cartons, sorting the larder ( yet again, for I really enjoy
buying ingredients) and tidying the corner cupboard where the flower
vases are kept. The problem is always that you start the project with
enthusiasm, taking everything out of a cupboard – and then lose
enthusiasm when the whole lot is strewn over tables and chests. As part
of my Lent penance, I have sorted the whole lot out and put the
remnants back tidily. I can’t tell you the pleasure this gives me. Only
one more cupboard to do.