|Temporary desk set-up pretending to be a bookshelf|
Ignoring the general state of the world and sticking my head in some kind of fluffy glittery sand (which I'm sure is partly composed of privilege), I had some post-Christmas thoughts about possessions. While I was trying to summon up the will to write thankyou cards - I want to thank people but hate doing it - I was considering what my & the Boy's family had given me. Their presents were all just right - things that I can enjoy having and using. There's a book of knitting patterns that I'd previously been intrigued by on Roobeedoo's blog. There's a book of recipes the same as one we had as children. There's a Nigel Slater book which I plan to read all of - he's someone who can inspire me to cook interesting things with words. So many recipe books are all shiny pictures and then lists of ingredients, but NS manages to evoke an atmosphere in each recipe. I'm already imagining cosy weeknight evenings making some cunning concoction following an aspirational visit to The Better Food Company. (current reality has me staring at a CostCo multipack of pancetta cubes after a cold 9.5km cycle ending in a steep hill).
But what I really mean to say is - each of these presents represents a bit of something I'll enjoy doing and encouragement to do it. The givers have thought about what I like to do and given me almost an excuse to do it. I say excuse because there's the ongoing saga of The House. What one should be doing at any given time is something, anything, towards decorating. (we hadn't anticipated not having unpacked after a year of ownership and 10 months of living here) Purposefully doing anything enjoyable with one's time at the moment feels like a great luxury, and a bit naughty - I need excuses to indulge myself, despite knowing that not doing so will only lead to stress and mental disarray (and I actively encourage Boy to do things he enjoys).
Anyway, one of the feelings that all these nice things evokes is the feeling that they are treasure to be cherished; this got me thinking that it'd be nice if I felt like that about more of my things. I am someone who buys the cheap option or waits for a sale, who doesn't buy herself big fancy things if she doesn't need them, who used to have real trouble indulging herself. I've got a bit better at that, but I would like to develop a filter.
Yesterday I took a set mixing bowls back to Debenhams. I'd bought them in a fit of excitement shortly after Christmas, and then realised that they were not dishwasher safe. Given that we regularly have a weeks' worth of dirty wooden spoons sitting on the side in the kitchen I thought that this was not desirable. (I kept the set of small bowls with tupperware-style lids that I bought at the same time and it's just occurred to me that one of them went through the dishwasher this evening and seemed fine. Oh. Oh well) But the point is - I was excited and bought myself something - which is good given I don't excite easily - but it wasn't something I was properly smitten with (not so good) and it wasn't quite right. There's a place for things I'm not super-passionate about - especially if they are useful - but so as to not fill up my physical place I'd prefer to, ahem, curate* a special selection. And really, I barely ever need anything so this is not any kind of deprivation.
And then I'd also like to use my nice things - make things with the wool and fabric I have stashed away, wear my nice clothes, have baths with bath bombs, serve food on our nice plates, drink my birthday gin. Fulfil their potential. Or something.
Back to good old William Morris:
"Have nothing in your houses which you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful"
Right, back to the grim real world. Sometimes when I feel paralysed by everything being terrible I make a donation to Shelter, Refuge, the British Humanist Association, the Red Cross or whatever charity seems pertinent - at least that way I'm somehow being useful.
* possibly knobby lifestyle word of the decade