I found this essay about stuff by Paul Graham last year. It struck a chord at the time because we were packing to move from a bigger home to a smaller one. We gave away a lot of stuff but still brought a fair amount of it to the new place. There is now a room full of still packed stuff because it can’t be unpacked until the loft has been insulated and prepared as a storage space. So I have to wonder, if we haven’t touched all that stuff for 13 months, do we really need it? Do I even remember what it all is?
I dislike clutter. Whether PG’s theory about parsing is right or wrong I don’t know but I do know that, in my own home at least, I’m far more relaxed in a clean, tidy room than a dirty, cluttered one. So I’ve gone paper free with as many of my bills as possible and I’ve gone digital as far as possible. I download books to and use the Kindle app to read them on the iphone. I haven’t bought any CDs for quite a while, instead preferring to use Spotify. I realise that you can’t find everything on there but I find about 90% of what I want to listen to and that’s a good enough trade off for me. For films I use Sky Movies. In the rare case that I find a film that I’ll want to watch over and over again I will consider buying the disc but it’s more likely that I’ll just watch it again on Sky.
Christmas and birthdays are the worst times for accumulating things I don’t need. Specifically for these occasions I have a wish list on Amazon but sadly Kindle editions of books aren’t available as gifts yet. (Mind you, I do like ‘real’ books. I don’t class them as useless stuff, after all, they are useful when I need to save the iphone’s battery and, unlike digital editions, I can lend them to people. Anyway some books, such as cookery books, have to have a decent physical form to be of any use.) I don’t mind if people go ‘off list’ to buy me a gift provided that it’s something they’ve thought about. I have one dear friend who likes to introduce me to new books and it’s rather lovely. But on the whole I’d rather not have presents because I have everything I need and want.
This is a cute story providing publicity for one of my favourite charities – The British Hen Welfare Trust – but I don’t think an extra 200 square centimetres per bird, which is about the area of two beermats, makes much difference. Buying organic, or at least free range, is still the only way forward. A caged hen, even with a bit more space, is always prevented from carrying out her full set of natural behaviours.
Our dear chook Dozy was put to sleep today after the vet found a tumour in her abdomen. Here she is in better times, dust bathing in the garden in August 2008:
The ferrets have diarhhoea and the chickens have red mite. Different and Lucy each had a shot of antibiotics at the vet yesterday. Same didn’t as I didn’t know till today that he is doing runny poos too and anyway, he’s looking a lot better than the other two so it’s possible that he caught the bug later on. In fact the vet told us to reduce the dosage of the steroids he’s on for cancer again because he’s doing so well.
On discovery of the red mite, the chickens’ housing was dismantled, washed using the hose, dried and dusted with powder that kills the mites. The chickens’ bottoms and underwings are being dusted with the powder too. Some of them take more kindly to this routine than others.
You have to wonder what your life is coming to when so much of your time seems to be taken up by cleaning up poo.
In the past year they’ve wrecked the garden, they’ve learnt to fly and keep escaping from their pen, they lay in the ornamental wishing well and one has even gone broody on me…but it’s still been the best year ever. The chickens are fun, interesting and full of character. Best of all they lay smashing eggs. I’m so glad we had them.
Meanwhile., this is the second sunny bank holiday of the year that I will be spending largely indoors in front of my screen. My Java treasure hunt game has a reasonable amount of functionality now. I just need to get the classes sorted.
I’m pretty much fed up of working all the time while the sun’s shining. I started working on my assignments in earnest on 27th March. I don’t finish until 28th May, so by then I’ll have been working hard for 2 months. I need to plan some kind of celebration. Champers I think…