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Friday, September 11, 2009

I have a cunning plan . . .


As Oscar said, “To have cramp in one leg might be regarded as unfortunate; to have cramp in both smacks of mystical muscular messaging.”

Hobbling my way around the house, the last thing that my screaming muscles need is struggling with boxes of books from place to place as I vainly try and find spaces for EVs (Essential Volumes).

I took a deeply symbolic step when I decided (after much heart ache) that the Funk and Wagnells dictionary bought second hand by my father for ten bob umpteen years ago with me in attendance will have to go.

It is an enormous book with thumb tabs for each letter carved into the fore edge of book itself. This was the first time that I had seen such a thing and I was deeply impressed. But have I actually used the book over, say, the last thirty years? The answer is that I have not.

I have no intention of counting the number of English dictionaries that I own as no-one (including myself I fear) would understand why. I still have the Oxford Pocket Dictionary that I had when I entered secondary school. It is venerable and battered and I do have a newer version, but I couldn’t think of getting rid of it. My justification is that I use it as a visual aid in my teaching. “Look!” I say to a deeply unimpressed class, “I am your English teacher and I have carried a dictionary around with me since I was eleven. If I need one, how much greater is your need!” There is a distinct echo of The Book of Common Prayer and The Authorized Version of the Bible in that injunction; echoes that are lost, alas, in the electronic breeze from pupil iPods innumerable.

The latest idea grew to a defiant determination as I vainly tried to massage normality back to places where I had little suspected that such vigorous muscles were lurking. This plan is to accept that I am going to retain my little space in the storage facility for the rest of the moth at least so I may as well use it to try and find a solution to the ‘quart into the pint bottle’ problem with the books.

I will fill boxes with the books that I can see disappear without taking too much of my soul with them. This will (must) leave spaces on the shelves which can be filled with books from those in storage. The books in storage will be sorted in Bluespace itself so that the only books that I actually bring to the house will be those without which I cannot do. If all else fails that I will have to double stack certain volumes and stick something on the side of such overcrowded shelves reminding me what is hidden behind the front row of spines.

Obviously I have to take the boxes containing the ‘Books for Expulsion’ to the car so that the guest bedroom can again accommodate two beds. It might be politic to get the empty boxes (presently gracing the lawn) to the rubbish and start thinking about making yet another pilgrimage to Bluespace.

This time, however, there is, after all, A Plan – and, as Churchill (that great librarian) so memorably said, “This may not be the end of our shelving problems. It may not be the beginning of the end of building Billy bookcases, but it is at least the end of the beginning.” One can only hope so.

It will be interesting to see what I achieve in a day which will bring visitors and in particular one four year old boy! Added to that is a half promise to try and visit Margaret and Ian who have been unvisited for far too long.

Ah well, let the day progress: I feel that I have started well by formulating the details of a plan of action before my second cup of tea.

I will rely on Toni’s sister’s flexible approach to concepts like “we’ll be there in the morning” and make the first of my new purposeful visits to Bluespace. I have to tell myself to keep remembering the amount of money I pay each month to keep the little cell in order to spur myself into concrete action.

Tally ho!
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