It was me. I was the one who got up at 2 a.m., having woken up from a measly couple of hours sleep, doing the obligatory tossing and turning for a while and finding only weird or dreary stuff on the radio, and eventually giving up and going downstairs. I was the one who made a cup of tea, and in response to some mad impulse, put on my purple rubber gloves, resisting a pinny - although I have worn a pinny over a dressing gown before - and emptied out the large chaotic grocery cupboard that has sat uneasily on my conscience for weeks. I wiped it all out, rinsed and dried it, and actually sorted all those tins, jams, chutneys, lentils, pasta, and seaweed. Seaweed! Obviously bought once when I was attempting to revitalise my approach to food, or health, or both. Revolting. There were lots of bags with only a tablespoon of rice left in each, and several encrusted jars containing a mere teaspoonful of crystallised honey. I also found 4 packets of cornflour. Why 4? Search me. After an hour, the dog came downstairs with a bewildered look, but the cats had more sense than to wreck their regime of 20 hours a day of sleeping, and stayed put in the folds of the duvet.
I left the numerous opened bags of pulses on the counter until morning when I could sort out what was past its 'best by' date. Then I went into the sitting room and, ignoring the pleading eyes of the dog, read for a while till the urge to go back to bed came over me. This morning, despite the pleasing orderliness of my cupboard, I was ashamed to find that the 'best by' dates seemed on average to be mostly around 2007, although there was something which dated from 1997. Some of those chickpeas would need to be boiled for a year to become half-tender, so they all got thrown out, in a guilty and furtive fashion, as I have never found a good use for a fossilised chickpea. But I shall apply myself to finding a good use for a large quantity of cornflour. Suggestions on a postcard, please.
And now it's only 9 o'clock in the evening, and I feel more than ready for bed. Very taxing, spring cleaning in the wee small hours; next time I might go back to the tried and tested system of raiding the fridge and watching all-night tv instead of cupboard archaeology.