I have never been too good at filing.
Today, however, I have turned over a new leaf and am seeking to make sense of the masses of Important Papers which, like orphaned
waifs, really do need to be found A Forever Home.
I will explain the origin of the problem in the interests of your better understanding. Just in case you are thinking that retirement has made me lazy. Mr
B, you see, likes to use the dining room table as his filing cabinet. As letters arrive, they will be filed in piles on the table, whether containing important information about our pensions, our travel insurance, hospital appointments or our latest water
consumption - or frankly repetitive correspondence about cruises we might like to take if we win the Lottery one day and half-price offers on juicy cuts of meat.
When I say "piles", this gives
a totally erroneous impression that there is Method in Mr B's Madness. This is most definitely not the case. To be fair he does occasionally stick a yellow post-it note on particular papers. These will issue instructions such as "To Keep" or "Do NOT throw
away." You can provably hazard a guess as to whom these are aimed at.
Every so often it will be necessary to clear the table, perhaps because we have friends coming for lunch or dinner or because it's
our fortnightly Nomination Whist session. On these occasions it will not be enough to push everything to the far end of the table as I do when we sit down to eat every evening (Mr B and I always eat together at the dining room table. We are creatures of habit
like that. It is, however, possible to watch the TV at the same time so we can't claim to be perfect diners.)
Given the requirement to clear the table in double quick time, my response is to cram everything
into a large carrier bag, generally one of those sturdy Bag For Life carriers which you can purchase from any supermarket. This has the advantage of keeping everything together and tidy - but the main disadvantage is that it never gets looked at again. This
would be more dangerous if it were not for the fact that my default filing mechanism is to place appointment letters and the like in the relevant page of our joint desk diary.
I was forced to face up to the
deficiencies of my filing when we visited the branch of our new bank. Finding the most up to date information required taxed me no end. I vowed then and there to empty out every File (i.e. Bag For Life) and introduce a more efficient system. Mr B says it's
About Time Too but doesn't offer to get involved in this latest task. He always introduces me to new acquaintances wanting to fix up dates to meet as his "secretary." As he is rather too fond of saying: "Why have a dog and bark yourself?"
Obedient as always, I set to with a will. I adopt the Triage Approach to Filing which indicates that everything can be fitted into one of three piles: (i) Action; (ii) File; (iii) Dump. Just for added confusion the third category
has two sub-sets: (i) Dustbin and (ii) Shredder. I hope you are just a tiny bit impressed. I am, it has to be said, increasingly daunted by the size of the pile of papers for shredding; I can see another day skipping away from me...
It is a beautiful, sunny day and I really should be outside enjoying it, rather than indoors wading through a river of paper. Every so often I take a stroll down the garden (my dear Dad used to call this "walking the estate") to check
how the sunflowers are doing and whether the birds are still eating us out of house and home. Every so often I take myself outside armed with a cup of coffee and today's newspaper and allow time to elapse in a contented natural break.
I have now emptied three carrier bags and released their contents from long-term imprisonment. One large Tesco's bag remains. I can see yellow post-it notes gleaming balefully at me as I start to sort. I decide it's time to write the
Daily Blog, after which it will surely be time for our Sunday dinner. Mr B is cooking fillet steak today - perhaps it is a reward for all my labours? Then, after dinner I need to phone Our Boy to discuss arrangements for Young Sam's forthcoming ninth birthday.
I can't imagine for a moment that I will have time to return to the filing after that.
I return the bag to its spot behind the arm-chair where it is half hidden by the curtains. To make myself feel a little
better about this Dereliction of Duty I take a leaf out of Mr B's estimable book and scrawl a message on a yellow post-it note which I affix to the front of the bag. It reads: "To Be Sorted."