Saturday, 21 February 2009


Once upon a time, I had a life. And now I have shredding. It's just about the dullest, most boring thing to do if all you have is a small, noisy domestic shredder, instead of the big fat industrial one we used at work, which could tidy your desk for you in a flash if you were feeling reckless and devil-may-care.

What you see here, underneath My Little Helper, is a second shredder, the first one having burned out, thanks to the shameful amount of work it has had to do in the last couple of days. And why? Because I have finally squared up to the boxes in the attic, and sorted the tattered, yellowing paper evidence of that former life: the phone bills, the bank statements, the payslips, the insurance documents (so many!) and the work diaries. Three large plastic sacks have been filled so far, with more and more paper being brought downstairs in the blue basket, and there seems to be an endless supply remaining. We may need shredder number 3 at this rate. My Little Helper finds it all quite fascinating, but then she can't read or count very well, so she won't see that I had a rather irresponsible overdraft in those days, or, that unlike nowadays, my main expenditure wasn't cat-related.

Some fascinating oddments have turned up in amongst the dreary dross: a hastily scribbled letter from my mother, simply dated "Monday" and written in a terse style, unusual for her, suggesting that she could have managed emails or even texting, had she not been so resolutely technophobic: "PS My pen (same as one I gave you) refused to write. Shop sent it back twice, now at last it writes. Firm says they adjusted the ink flow, shop says it's a new one." I could almost hear her tone of derision.... I wonder which pen it was; she and I shared a love of fountain pens, and each of us had several. It was good to see her bold distinctive handwriting again.

And another letter,
many years old, a rather unconvincing apology from the Lovely Son for some offence, long-forgotten; he very rarely wrote except to say sorry or to ask for something, and this letter serves both functions - "sorry I didn't...and could you send me..."

And a sign, written by a delightful young lodger and waved at me from an upstairs window when she was supposed to be revising for her finals: "I'm bord" (sic).

Tomorrow I shall set to on the large box that came with me when I moved offices and that never quite made it to the new office. I bet I'll be bord in no time.
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laurie said...

oh, shredding! a messy job, too. confetti flies everywhere. it's amazing the documents we amass that we think we're going to need and then never look at again. and yet when i finally relegate them to the shredder, i panic just a little, thinking, what if i need this?

those notes are a lovely find, though.

Rachel said...

Yes, I used to have those thoughts too. And look what became of me; a helpless hoarder who couldn't part with anything in case by some miracle it came in useful or turned out to have been the One Crucial Item without which my affairs would founder. Resist, resist, and feed that noisy little machine!

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