Spring Clean

Does anyone Spring Clean anymore? It always makes me think of Mole in Wind in the Willows and the distemper on his nose and fur. I want to do it. I want to do it because neatening, cleaning, sorting out makes me calm. As does the shedding, the shedding of stuff, of clutter that weighs me down with it’s unlooked-at, unresolved unnecessary-ness. There is so much I don’t need. Yesterday two of my little wooden tool drawers got stuck. I joggled and jiggled them, shouting and hollering in frustration. It just needs dealing with, sorting out, neatening. That’s all. It’s time really. Well, and a decision to give it time. And I will. Saturday, God willing. Just for the peace it will give me. And I’ve invested in Muji things, you know, those eco-friendly plastic-style trays and boxes – momentarily they rest in the bottom of my cupboard crying out to be used.

There was a house alarm going off while I walked this morning. It was the kind of high keening noise that only dogs usually hear and there was a flashing green light. Were they all asleep? What is one to do in such a situation? Call the police?

Claudia Hammond has been hosting a repeat show on Radio 4 Extra called Team Spirit. She talks about how team-work functions in various situations. In one she spoke to the Antarctica team but it wasn’t their conversation that interested me so much but something she said in passing about how the scientists and facilitators out there cope with the extremes of cold, solitude and lack of light. She said something about how enduring such things increased, or fed, their sense of self. They were, in effect, made proud by it. It’s such a tenuous thing. And our sanity is closely intertwined with it. Every day is a balancing act.

Oh, and have I told you how the adaptation of Anne Tyler’s Back When We Were Grown-ups is such a source of pleasure? And it ends tomorrow. And then the storm is due.

The woman with the bag for life walked passed me again this morning, her head down, no eye contact. I wish her well. Good morning, I say in my head as we pass, may it be a peaceful one.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.