I am moving flat. This has led to a massive upheaval, mostly in my cupboards. My cupboards contain what must be the world's largest collection of things that no-one could ever want or need. There are things in there that make a video cassette player look useful. And there's a video cassette player.
If you want to reminisce about how awful things used to be, just stare at the remote of a VHS machine for ten seconds and try to fathom how you ever coped with one of those. They used to be the epitome of advanced living, now they look like something a caveman would call old fashioned.
They could record a television programme perfectly well, if you didn't mind missing the beginning and having the tape run out before the end. Then there was trying to find a tape that had enough room on it to even contemplate trying to record the thing you wanted, and the maddeningly large amount of information it needed from you to do it. By the time you had in-putted all the details, the show was over and The News had started. So, I have one of those. No, wait, I have TWO of those, one of which I don't even recognise.
I also have three CD players that I had forgotten I had and two cassette recorders. And a box of cassettes that must have taken the entire reserves of North Sea oil to manufacture - there's thousand of them.
When I finally threw out all of the wires for things I did not recognise and plugs and boxes and instruction manuals for machines I have never owned and newspapers from previous decades, books never read, things that don't work, files filed with paper so old the ink has vanished and unwanted bits and bobs and general assorted rubbish, I saw the back of the cupboards for the first time since I moved in nine years ago, and the hall was so full of piled up, bagged up junk that I couldn't get out of the front door to throw it all away.
About half way through the chucking out procedure, it all got a bit much, like being overwhelmed by a tsunami of garbage. I didn't think I would ever get my head above it, but now that it is done, I feel like I've dropped a stone in weight. It was like an anchor made of trash and now it is gone, to the great hole in the ground the council throw all our carefully sorted recyclables into.
The very great danger when going through the detritus that clings to us, is of being waylaid by things half remembered. Old photographs are the worst. Entire days can slip by going "Ooh, I use to look so young ... when was this taken ... last year!?" Looking at holiday snaps alone can take up more time than you spent on the actual holiday. I had to stop myself and just keep the lot or I'd have never finished sorting out the ones to bin. I'll save that for the next time I move.
To move again would however be completely out of the question, as the amount it costs to shift your possessions and effects from one place to another is about the same as it would cost to build yourself a home from scratch. Do you have any idea what it costs to hire a removals company? I thought I did. I was out by a factor of three.
I have selected their preferred product, which is a "Total Packing Solution". I intend to excuse myself while they are doing it. I imagine they will employ residents of the gorilla enclosure at Regent's Park Zoo to let loose on my nick-nacks, with the instruction to see how much they can break in the time allotted to them. It will too stressful to watch them do it, so I intend to something more calming while they are here, like signing up for a tour of Afghanistan.
There are things that can not be just thrown away and must not be taken with me. They are all the old financial statements,invoices and bank account gumf that I have collected and kept since I stopped eating Rusks. The filing cabinet they are squeezed into must weigh the same as Salisbury Cathedral.
I piled it all up next to the shredding machine and it contacted its union representative. It is used to chomping the odd unsolicited letter or unwanted receipt, it was not expecting to be presented with the Himalayas of paper work that now surround it, especially as it is made from what appears to be plastic of a robustness that would shame a drinks straw.
It has a little red light on it marked "Overheat", which it has never had the need to illuminate. It is now blinking like Christmas just at the very thought of what I had in mind for it. Other than shredding, though, I have no idea how to dispose of such a trove of delights for the fraudster. If I threw that lot out without destroying it first, I would be lucky to get my identity back before I became so old that I forget who I am.
Then there is the disposing of extraneous furniture. I thought I would improve my karma by not trying to sell it on eBay, but giving it away for free to charity. And charity said: "That'll be £21 please". They actually charge you to give them something for nothing, presumably to keep the Chief Executive in the manner to which he has become accustomed.
When they got here, having already deducted that amount from my credit card, they then said; "No thanks". They wouldn't touch anything soft without a sticker from the government on it saying that it will not burst into flames if someone falls asleep sitting on it with a fag in their hand. That would seems like Darwinism at work to me, but they do not see it that way, and neither do their phalanx of lawyers who must be instructing them in this regard.
So far, moving flat has been two weeks of constant work, elevated blood pressure levels and expense. Office electricals have taken against me, I don't know where anything is any more, I suspect I have thrown out things that are vitally important and I haven't even got the bubble wrap out yet.