Friday, 22 January 2010

Two lost days

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

I lost two days. Turned around, took my eye off the thing and pphhtt: they were gone. There was tiredness and grumpiness, combined with low-grade fretting about my mother (I know the docs in Aberdeen are among the best in the country; I know that the lovely NHS will look after her; but, still) which turned into a bitchy little stomach flu. It's that one where you feel like a knackered old lady who has been run over by a large piece of farm machinery, so there has to be much sleeping in the day. Then you wake up at two in the morning and can't go back to sleep until five, no matter how much bloody World Service you listen to. And, as F Scott Fitzgerald said, in one of his moments of shining lucidity, in the dark night of the soul it is always three o'clock in the morning. And, at three o'clock in the morning, unless you are staying up all night with a gentleman with a gleam in his eye and a couple of trannies for fun, it is always the dark night of the soul.  Particularly when you have a constant underlying feeling of physical nausea.

My favourite thing is, when my most beloveds are beating themselves up, as beloveds will, to tell them to step away from the large club with which they are bashing themselves over the head. I make weak jokes about egg shaped lumps on the top of heads. I say: you really can stop hitting yourself with the implement now. Oh, I am so wise and sane. And then I get a little stomach bug, and I lie awake in the night castigating myself for all my perceived failings. I do the exact same thing that I give those I love permission, in fact instruction, not to do.  So I am not only an idiot, I am in danger of being a hypocrite.

Here is what I say:
Why can I not be the kind of organised person who does not get actual terror in her stomach when tax day rolls around? Why can I not open my post? (I have a degree, for God's sake, surely opening a simple envelope is not beyond me?) Why did I spend so much money on hotels in the roaring nineties? Why can I not tidy my shed? You should see my shed. It is like the shed of DOOM with extra doom on the side. And the sad thing is it looks so quaint and picturesque on the outside; then you open the door….

I shan't go on, because it's too dull.  You get the drift. Actually, I feel better now. Thank you for letting me share with the group.

Other things I have been wondering:

Why could I never achieve an office as lovely and clean and cool and Spartan as this one, photographed by Patric Johannson, which I found on a blog called Style File?

office by Patric Johannson

Where in the world is this?

Where in the world is this

Do the people who get to study in this glorious library at Coimbra in Portugal have to look up every five minutes, unable to believe their luck? Admittedly, I did get to study in Duke Humphrey's Library in the Bodleian when I was at university; also the magnificent Codrington, thanks to my friend Ed, who told me how to get the special pass to All Souls and made me do it, just so I could look at the black and white floor and the twenty foot high statues in white marble. But I am still envious of the students at Coimbra.

Biblioteca Geral University of Coimbra in Portugal

If I am very, very good, and tidy up everything, and learn to go to bed at a reasonable hour, and stop ranting at people down the telephone when they just rang up to ask one simple question that required a one word answer, will someone give me a picture by Martin Munkacsi? Like this one? -

Martin Munkacsi

I'm stopping now. It's time for my medication.


  1. Poor you, I hope you and your mum feel better soon. I love that library and the Martin Munkacsi photo, I can't figure out the other looks like a Yann Arthus Bertrand.

  2. Would love an office like that and a Martin Munkasci too - I've always loved the idea of a wall full of photos - ooh an office with a MM wall, now that would be nice.

  3. To make you feel better:check out my messy room (6)

    I highly recommend the "sorting boxes" behind the desk.They are great for a short tidying distraction... hmm sorted, me? Never. I hope that the Aberdeen news continues to be good.

  4. I think it was something I read on The Happiness Project blog that stated organizing your desk can actually be good for your mental health. Boring, I thought. But I tried it and it worked. My office will now stay zen-like and minimal (apart from muddy paw prints) for approximately three days.

    I am sorry you are having a horrid time. It will pass. I promise.


    bumble x

  5. And how about the fact that after meditating I often come out thinking even worse thoughts!
    How can this be happening, can you maybe explain it to me, because I like your truth.
    Anyway, the point is to brace yourself and just remind yourself that for better, or worse, tomorrow it will all look different.
    And it's the long run that counts when you are making. Because you are making all the time - you are creative!
    Cheers to you.

  6. For a major Martin Munkácsi exhibit called "Think while you shot" mark your calendars for a trip to Budapest (Sept-Jan) to the
    Hope to see you in town,

  7. Trust me, nobody touches anything in Coimbra.

  8. My lodger took it upon herself to tidy the shed once. She stacked everything beautifully in height order up to the ceiling. Problem was the tool box (the only useful item I need on a regular basis) was at the bottom of the stack.

    Love your messy shed. I'm sure there is a system of some kind.


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