The Troubles of Tidying

Tidying is just. so. hard.

Okay, so maybe I’m realising that I am a horrible hoarder and pretty much have been all my life.

Lately, I’ve been watching lots of lovely minimalists’ videos talking about how nice having less stuff is and god damn it I want that. But!

I’ve gotten rid of a lot of easy things (mainly size-too-small clothes and literal rubbish) and now I’m looking around and it’s still no better. I just have so much more stuff than I even realised. I’m moving out in a few months. I’m doing the whole travel thing (well, a bit) and then I plan on living small for quite some time. So I have to downsize. A lot.

But I feel emotionally attached to everything. It’s ridiculous. A dress I haven’t worn in 5 years but used to love as a teenager. A Christmas card with a short story someone wrote me (that I read once, and has sat in a box full of similar items ever since). A pen that doesn’t work but looks nice and goes with the matching letter opener I’ve never used. Things I ‘might need’ even though I haven’t needed them in years, or ever.

Why am I like this?

Do you find it this hard to clear things out, or are you one of those people who hate having stuff around and throw them out as soon as you can? If you have any success stories, or tips on how I can battle my hoarder instinct (and win), comment and let me know!

 

The Troubles of Tidying

2017

2017 has lately been feeling like kind of a nothing year for me. Or at least the last half of it was. Most of 2018 will most likely be about the same as I’m working hard to save money to visit friends on the other side of the world. It’s easy to forget how much I actually did last year, when the last half of it was so quiet. Still, there were adventures to be had in 2017, and I’d like to reflect on those.

For one, I finally got to visit Ireland, a place I’ve wanted to see for most of my life but never got around to until this point. It turned out to be a bad time, with a country-wide bus strike that left me stranded in Rosslare for the better part of a day until my cousin could drive halfway up the country to pick me up. I was only there for a few days, but I got to see a lot, the highlight of which was Killarney national park, with its lush, brooding mountains and winding rivers.

My housemate of three years moved out, and I started living with someone new, which was a daunting prospect at first but has turned out great. They may or may not be moving out this year, but another change is less worrying since it’s already worked out once, and I myself might well be moving out at the end of the year anyway.

I got a new tattoo, which didn’t heal quite right so I’ve just been in for a touch up (which was way more painful than the original, although thankfully did not take anywhere near as long). This was my first ‘big’ tattoo, and I sat for almost three hours for it. I know that’s actually no time at all compared to a lot of tattoos, but considering I’ve only had small pieces that have taken no more than half an hour, 3 hours was a lot! Hopefully 2018 brings a couple more, although most likely they’ll be small as I’ll be saving throughout the year.

I started going to yoga classes, and although I don’t do much of it at the moment, my posture has improved and I feel like I’m putting less pressure on my knees when I stand. It’s pretty hard to believe though that for 26 years I genuinely did not know how to stand up straight.

I also started driving lessons in October, which was absolutely not a fun new hobby, but incredibly stressful. I’m sort of okay with my lessons now and am not shitting myself every time I pass another car (although if everyone else could just take their cars off the road when I have a lesson, that’d be great). I’ve still a lot to learn when it comes to driving, but I’m really hoping to pass my test this summer. Fingers crossed!

In December, I saw an otter whilst out on a dog walk, in a Bristol lake. I’ve seen otters before in sanctuaries, but never in the wild, so this was a big deal for me. Considering they were once on the brink of extinction in this country, finding one in the middle of a busy city is pretty cool (:

I did, also, write a full length novel, although more and more now I’m thinking it will probably never see the light of day. Still, the actual writing of something that long is an achievement in itself, and I consider it a stepping stone for more to come. Though perhaps for 2018 I will just focus on writing shorts and novellas, things that cause me less anxiety that I might actually be able to send out into the world without too much agonising.

Having written all this down, maybe 2017 wasn’t quite so boring after all, and I’m sure 2018 will bring plenty of new experiences too. I’ve set myself up with a challenge for the year, to go plastic free. It’s pretty much impossible to be 100% plastic free, but I will be buying alternatives or just going without where ever possible, including and especially food packaging! This should have the added benefit of cutting most processed foods out of my diet, forcing me to eat healthier and to cook more often, and also mostly (if not totally) cutting out palm oil, which is something I should have done forever ago. It’s a bit of a daunting task, but as I’m in the hippy city of Bristol, I don’t think it’ll be as difficult as it would be in other places. And if I could go vegan and stick to it, I can probably do this too.

Let’s just hope the apocalypse doesn’t happen before the year is done.

Peace out.

2017

Caravan

We took a trip to Wales this week, driving up for my dad’s wedding. We stopped off at a few picturesque points along the way. The Honey Cafe in Abergavenny is a traditional stopping point for us. It’s changed hands a couple of times since my first memory of it, but it’s remained a nice place (clean and reasonably priced) to stretch our legs and grab a bite to eat. After that we broke at a little stream in the hills. And several times for sheep in the road, of course.

We broke down about half an hour from our destination. Of course it was at Devil’s Bridge, narrowly avoiding a dramatic swerve around the side of the hotel as the brakes on the car overheated (thank you mountain roads). It was probably retribution for all the times we failed to wave to the devil whilst crossing over as kids. Although really it was the best place to break down as we were able to use the phone in the hotel to call for help.

Eventually we arrived after about 4 hours of driving (thankfully not me – not having a license has its benefits) and checked into our accommodation before joining my dad and step-mother to be in the pub for a few drinks. If you’re ever around Aberystwyth way, take a drive to the Halfway Inn in Pisgah, because it’s a lovely place with views out over the valley, and a spooky reputation. We stayed in a caravan just above it, with some rather noisy and overly friendly neighbours who ate all our carrots.

The wedding went well. It was blowing a fierce gale the morning of, but it calmed down for the afternoon and no one’s hat was swept away. It was a nice little family get-together with wine and food and much catching up with each other, and just a little bit of the bitching that usually goes hand in hand with family (sigh).

Oh, and the wedding cake was a pork pie. Obviously.

img_2885.jpg

Caravan

Rats are Bastards

Male rat intros are hard. I’ve always just dumped new girls in the same carrier or small hamster cage as the residents and the most aggro I’ve ever had was from Ren, who looked annoyed and fluffy for an entire afternoon until she finally relented and accepted the new rats. A little bit of pushing and shoving, but nothing more than that. This is the first time I’ve ever had to introduce boys. I’ve read up on it, got advice from a few long time rat keepers, and thought I had found the best solution. They were getting on fine in a bathtub filled with an inch of water – Hati even seemed a little protective of Odin, one of my new babies. Odin kept squeaking and trying to jump out of the bath, and Hati took lead from him. So I moved them into a carrier thinking it would be fine, and after only a second there was squealing as Hati jumped on Odin. I fiddled with the latch of the carrier, grabbed Hati and shoved him straight back into his cage, but in the maybe twenty seconds it took me to do that, he’d torn a huge chunk out of Odin.

It was horrible, a big open wound and I’ve never seen anything like it before. Cue me crying down the phone to the emergency vet receptionist, who I called twice just to make sure I was doing the right things. She told me not to bring him in, just to keep an eye on him. It didn’t make me feel better, but it did save me spending the rest of my meagre savings. Apparently, according to my rat keeping friends, boys do this a lot. So I waited, and yesterday it was already healing, half of it closed up. Odin didn’t even flinch when I went to clean it. He just sat there and let me bathe it in a salt solution, which couldn’t have been comfortable. He’s only known me two weeks, but he seems to trust me already, even though in his mind I’ve tried to drown him several times and set a giant angry rat on him. I don’t know if I’ll keep going with this intro. I probably moved too fast with it, so I might, and take it extra slow, or I might neuter Hati and try again in 8 weeks. We’ll see. As lovely and cuddly as these boys are, I might stick to girls next time.

Luckily my own introduction to my new housemate was not quite so violent. It all seems to be going okay at the moment, and although we’re different in some ways we do have a fair bit in common. We went on a walk that I swear wasn’t meant to be six miles long but somehow ended up that way, checked out Cabot Tower to see Bristol from up high, the Bristol Suspension Bridge which was much nicer than it looks from below, and Ashton Court deer park. On the way home we stopped at VX, the best vegan junk food shop of all time, just before closing, and might have gotten the bus the rest of the way home because our legs wouldn’t work anymore.

Jay has now moved all her things out (except little things that I keep finding everywhere – mostly sewing needles that have embedded themselves into the carpet), but it’s been quite a gradual change, and not the dramatic ‘bye forever’ that was my last big move as she’s only moving a forty minute walk away (I’ll probably still catch the bus).

We’re starting to get the house more as we want it now. I’ve moved into the attic and the rats have their own little room which is an absolute godsend, as is their new two storey cage which is so much easier to clean. I spent three hours putting that thing together, and now I’ve realised I have to take half of it apart again to make it more secure for the girls (if I don’t, there’s a risk of them worming their way into the boys’ half of the cage, which would obviously not be good). It’ll be worth the effort though.

Rats are Bastards