Jaqui's Daily Blog

A Clear Out, A Book Shelf and the Leaning Towers of Pisa

I spend part of the morning in the offices of Voluntary Action Worthing where the valiant staff are struggling to pack up ready for next week’s move into the Town Hall. A grander address, certainly, but somewhat smaller office space so everything that can be thrown out, must be thrown out.


Which is where I come in, for my friend, the organisation’s Chief Officer, appears to have great faith in my ability to help her sort and discard. She hasn’t talked to Mr B, of course, who knows me for what I am - an Ace Hoarder.  There are still brief-cases, carrier bags and boxes tucked into off corners of our house, full of papers, documents, books, pamphlets and reports which I felt unable to throw away when I left work eighteen months ago. Why I thought I would ever consult any of them again, I really don’t know. There they sit, gathering dust and growing ever more out of date.


Regular readers will remember my 2012 Clearing Out the Garage project, a truly momentous task akin to Hercules cleaning out the Augean stables – though I seem to remember that he cheated, which is something I would never do.  Once I really started motoring, well there was no stopping me. Well, that’s a exaggeration, to be honest – there was a limit to the number of sack-loads of rubbish which could be fitted into our car ready for a trip to the dump (sorry, Waste Amenity Site.)


The point is, this experience does prove that, given the will, I can do this Sort and Discard job.  So, armed with a cup of coffee (it’s one of the things I love about going into VAW’s offices – the first thing anyone ever asks me is: “Would you like a cup of coffee?” It’s my Ideal welcome) we start sorting through all the shelves of a large bookcase.  At the end of an hour, we have filled three rubbish sacks with out of date publications, papers and documents plus several brown packing cases with items to keep. Every shelf is empty. Unfortunately all the contents of the shelves which haven’t made it into either the rubbish sacks or the packing cases, are now piled up on the desk in untidy heaps. Any minute now they might over-topple and end up on the floor.


The lovely volunteer brings us a plate of sausages wrapped in bacon to keep us going. She asks if I will be in the office tomorrow when she plans to bring in sausage rolls. Regretfully I tell her I won’t – though it’s probably a good thing as sausage rolls are my Festive Downfall.


Since I stopped being a Working Gal, I haven’t looked back with regret at Days Gone By. I’ve been too busy carving out the latest phase of my life, enjoying having time with Mr B and my large and lovely family, trying out different activities, making new friends, learning new skills, visiting places I’ve never been before – in short, retiring in style.


But it has been enjoyable, these last three weeks, being a member of an organisation again, albeit not a a member of staff but as someone who can pop in and out, enjoy the chat (and the coffee), be useful where possible, lend a hand, or an ear, or an idea. So thank you, Voluntary Action Worthing, for making me feel so welcome.


I look round ruefully at the chaos I have caused and apologise that I have to go home as Mr B is expecting me for lunch.  My friend says diplomatically that it is fine as she will be doing a “second sift” of all the documents piled onto her desk like so many Leaning Towers of Pisa.


She finds me a carrier bag for the collection of books, documents and pamphlets which I have decided to take home to read. I just knew I wouldn’t be able to pass up the opportunity to add still more to my reading material which currently decorates two small round occasional tables, a foot stool, two window sills and one and a half square feet of floor in our living room.


I go home feeling as if I have spent a profitable morning and done a good job.


Just how good, is anybody’s guess.

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Latest comments

23.04 | 20:15

lovely and heartwarming - an inspiration to us all x

09.03 | 12:07

Love this story told as ever beautifully.x

10.11 | 21:31

What a super account of a special event. I loved meeting you last night and seeing your creation come together. I’m so pleased you got so much from the activity

07.09 | 13:17

I have broad shoulders x

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