January 29th, 2014


Sorting Things Out

'T'other thing we need to do is convert the study into a bedroom for carers to sleep in when we have them staying the week. Up until now Ailz and I have ceded our bedroom to them but it's always been a pain and the more embedded we become the less happy we are to do it. This is now our home and we hate having to pack away all our personal stuff (and there's getting to be quite a lot of it) every time we return to Oldham. I raised the matter with my mother this morning- thinking I might have to argue the case- and she agreed without demur.

Converting the study will involve sorting through a lot of lovingly stored rubbish- old radios, film projectors, business files- and discarding most of it. My parents were devils for keeping official paper- Every tax return, every old cheque book, every ledger, every appointments diary. i was doing a preliminary search yesterday afternoon and found stuff relating to the engineering firm my father left in the '60s.  Mixed in with the dross are more personal items- photograph albums going back to the '20s, my father's naval commission and discharge papers, my grandfather's gold watch. I have hazy thoughts about creating a properly annotated family archive. This morning I looked in a drawer I hadn't searched before and found my father's passport from the late '40s. He was in the business of selling tractors and such like heavy plant and did a lot of travelling- the USA, Egypt, West Germany, France, somewhere in Eastern Europe I can't decipher.  I offered to take him to Egypt in the mid '80s and he said he'd done it and didn't care to repeat the experience- the flies, the beggars- so I took my mother instead.

Making A Difference

We were listening to a debate on the radio about whether it's anything more than an idle political gesture for Britain to take in a handful of Syrian refugees and Ailz was reminded of a story that goes like this...

Thousands of starfish have been stranded on a beach; a little boy is throwing them back in the sea.

Along comes an old wiseacre. "What's the point?" he says. "There are too many of them. You're not making any difference."

And the little boy throws another starfish and says, "Well I made a difference to that one."