As regular readers of the blog will know Bec and I went on a walk a couple of weeks back, yes an actual walk. Together. In the sunshine. With hiking boots on. And things like Mad Max camper vans and camouflage kilts. All very exciting, and covered in last weeks blog........
Bec drove down from Scotland to my house in the industrial Midlands, purely, I am guessing, so that she could pack her bloody Norwegian walking poles - or stupid Scottish walking sticks as they will henceforth be termed. They are a 'delight' to behold. All walking sticky and supportive.
The Stupid Scottish Walking Sticks are a 'foible' of Bec's.
I have just rediscovered the word foible, I rather like it, sounds less judgy than obsession or weakness...
I have many foibles. Obviously my foibles are interesting and well considered, (although I do accept that is a paradox) or so I thought until very recently, just around about the time that Bec was helpfully putting my vacuum cleaner away in the cupboard under the stairs
As she flicked the light on she was confronted with incontrovertible evidence of one of my major foibles - shelving.
I just love shelving.....
'What the fuck!' gasped Bec, eloquently.
'Who on earth has an under stairs cupboard this tidy for fuck sake?' as she doubles over with laughter.
Pip’s anally retentive cupboard
A normal person’s under stairs cupboard
'I do.' I reply unnecessarily, not at all seeing what is funny about having shelves in ones understairs cupboard.
'There are little hooks to hang your brooms on.' She chuckled. Loudly.
It is a long time until she stops banging on about my cleaning cupboard. I eventually opt for a distraction technique and hand her a glass of champagne and eventually her un-nerving chuckling about the understairs cupboard subsides. (Editor’s note: she also has a shelving unit in the bathroom with another, smaller shelving unit on top of it, I fear that next time I visit there will be an even smaller shelving unit on top of that.)
I was surprised it didn't feature in the blog..
Whenever Bec is at my house, and I am preparing something delicious to eat, she seems utterly bemused by my spice cupboard and spends a worrying amount of time rummaging through it - occasionally holding out small jars of stuff and enquiring,
'whats this stuff in this small random jar?'
I felt somehow obliged to defend foible number 2.
Pip’s cupboard full of ingredients for her potions
I am utterly obsessed. It feels tidy. Of course it isn't at all tidy as Bec so helpfully mentioned,
'its not like the rest of your house is tidy..' she ruthlessly pointed out.
Forcing me to explain at some rambling and possibly boring length why I think its tidier...
We eventually came to the conclusion over copious amounts of fizz that it was just a bit weird.
I don't know when it started (my Mother has suggested that perhaps therapy would help?)
but certainly now that I am peri menopausal lots of odd things seem perfectly reasonable, like buying tiny jars to put small amounts of stuff in. It makes no sense - but fulfills some sort of bizarre storage jar/container need inside me....
I have jars with herbs in, jars with spices in, large cannisters with assorted different teabags in, small glass bowls with cotton wool in (obviously in my bathroom, not in the kitchen that would just be odd...)
I even have a beautiful Art & Crafts copper veneered box in which to store the telly bonks - more widely known as remote controls;
To explain; My younger cousin named them about 40 years ago, when remote controls were in their infancy and hence attached to the telly via a big wire and made an alarming 'BONK' noise when used. She also named Honey - Bee-Jam. Our family still use these terms for things. Her nickname when a small child was 'Poosey - diddle - Flump' and she is a legend.
Back to Foible 2
Seriously - if you can remove it from packaging and put it in something else - I'm there - delightedly deciding what kind of container would be most appropriate and cluttering my entire house.
I was once told that all of the flat surfaces in my house needed a point on them so I could't put 'bollocks' all over the place. They wern't invited back.
I long to be able to achieve minimalistic decor. But I am compelled to find things to arrange in what I decide is an artful boho type style, empty spaces upset my inner happy place.
I can loose days in places like TKMaxx or B&M Bargains rummaging through the storage and containers...its a strange obsession but one I enjoy so my house will continue to be full of pointless containers for things for ever!
Bec, whilst here, mentioned my books. (Foible number 3) How many of them there were and the fact that they were everywhere, then started lecturing me on abundance and how once read surely one should share the joy and give said books away.
By this point my entire body was screaming NOOOOOO!
I do have to admit that I have a reasonable number of books.
In fact every single room in the house has books stacked, piled, arranged and generally present.
I have collections of books that I have just read, piles of books yet to be read - these are my favourite sorts of arrangements! Shelves of reference books, cookery books, self help books (I don't actually read these because they are dull, I just own them and hope that by some sort of strange osmosis type thing the understanding will seep into my psyche. Turns out that's not actually how it works - but I live in hope.)
I love books. The look of them, the smell of them, the weight of them. The tangibility of an actual book over an ebook.
I think that if you go to a blokes house and they don't have books you definitely shouldn't fuck them...that way eventually we eliminate people who don't value books. Ok I do accept that there is something creepily eugenics-istic about that but seriously - how can someone not want to read?
Bec eventually realised mid way through our discussion on abundance that my face was slightly set, displaying a there is no way I'm getting rid of my books expression.
She hastily and wisely moved the conversation on to recycling and handed me another glass of fizz - A timely intervention and one that restored calm and happy Pip to the evening.
Bec terms herself a 'Capitalist Hippy' well, she does make banana bread and yearn for a super yacht, so I suppose its appropriate?
I can’t think of an apposite term for someone with an obsession for shelving, small containers, and books - so I'm not going to try! Suggestions are welcome though they may be ignored.
Its Saturday morning so I'm just off to purchase further small glass jars to arrange on the newest shelf addition to my house.
And I feel no shame.