10th November 2022

Trees at the Eye-care clinic.

This may be what is called “marcescence”: the retention of dead plant organs.

Someone may be able to set me straight on this. Regrettably my knowledge of trees is very lacking.

The book I obtained for guidance is not much help, probably because I never have the book with me when I am out and about.

No doubt, it’s a symptom of being disordered, which I never used to be. When you move around a lot, you can’t afford to acquire too much “stuff”.

That was all very well before I decided to purchase a home. My belongings fit into a few suitcases.

Then I anchored myself with an apartment (flat) and it was going to be a long-term attachment, so I decorated and acquired furniture…

Moving coast-to-coast, I ought to have abandoned most of those things but for various reasons I had them shipped. And shunted from place to place to place.

The last home I owned in Washington State was a large house which gave me space to unpack the accumulated stuff as well as a rather large amount of possessions I had inherited from my parents.

It was an eclectic collection of bits and pieces that had no great value except to me. But I liked it well enough and having so much space, it had some vague sort of order.

After ten years, one June afternoon I very suddenly decided to pull the plug, as it were.

“Off back to New York!”

“What???” said my friends.

“Going. Back East.”

No one had believed me when I said I was off to Seattle, either.

Or when I said I was going to Lagos for the weekend.

Flying to Lagos didn’t involve a lot of packing, at least.

Sorting out the house in Washington was something else.

There is no adequate word to describe what the next 14 weeks were like. It was diabolical.

For all sorts of reasons.

The possessions had to be reduced.

There were very many journeys to charity shops and to the dump.

And even more journeys to the UPS store for boxes and tape and packing materials.

It starts out well, when you think you have time to label things and pack like with like, and so forth.

Then you get tired:

“Oh what the hell, in it goes.” The labels get vague.

Then you notice that all those weeks have trickled by and you panic:

“Bugger details.” Labels become unreadable.

Then you get exhausted:

“Stick it in anywhere.” Labels abandoned.

One rather hopes that the whole bloody lot will disappear somewhere never to be seen again.

It would have made life so much simpler.

Instead, after a short blissful period of living perfectly comfortably without all that stuff.

It shows up.

Which in itself was problematic because the shipper’s truck was too large to negotiate the country lane upon which sits my house.

Why did I not say: “Oh just take it all away!”

This, of course, is my excuse for having become so disorganized.

What I ought to have done was unpack gradually, a box or two at a time. But once you have taken delivery, you start remembering items that suddenly you can’t live without, so you get obsessed with finding them and as your labeling system got a bit slack…

When my parents left Barbados, they managed to fit their life’s possessions into 13 pieces of luggage.

Their house had been on the market for years with no takers. Then, halfway through one November, as my mother was recovering from major surgery, a buyer!

But they had to vacate by the end of the year.

My father detested cold weather and had at that point lived for 30 years in the tropics, but suddenly Mum and Dad were coming to New York. in January.

My friend Tim and I went to Barbados to bring them back with their 13 dilapidated bags and boxes.

And when they arrived, taking up temporary residence in a neighbor’s home, Dad announced that he was going nowhere further until Spring.


Tim’s enclosed porch became the repository of my parent’s baggage and for the many weeks of that winter, I was issued lists of items that Dad had decided he must have and off I would go to search through those sodding bags on Tim’s unheated porch

Inevitably, I would remember having seen whatever it was while searching for the previous essential item, but now which bag had it been in?

Mum, of course never needed anything.

5 thoughts on “Labels…

  1. The joys of “organized” packing made me smile. Been through that a time or two. Still searching for things I know I packed but can’t find.
    It is such a treat to open postings from you to see what is on your mind and where your camera will take you on any given day. You definitely are not boring…. (Smiley face)

  2. Let me first say: Your sky photos are exceptionally beautiful today! I had such a good laugh about your packing and labelling of boxes 😅. When we packed up our house we lived in for 20 years, I found stuff I didn’t even know I had! Now, we are living very minimalistic and I love it!

  3. I once moved 3 times in less than 2 years. Once I arrived at the third flat (In Camden) I said I would never move again. 12 years later, I moved here to Norfolk, and almost all of the boxes we packed for that move are still in the garage or loft where we put then on that day in 2012.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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