A long day

Fountains in Versailles.
How I imagine the broken cistern looked today.

It’s been a long day today.

A day of preparing services for Holy Week; of dealing with a broken toilet cistern in a holiday house forty-five miles away, a concerned sister-in-law and wet brother-in-law; of welcoming an ill Jane home early from work; of continuing to write a user guide to WordPress — the content management tool behind the Scottish Episcopal Church website — while trying to protect my left wrist which clearly has RSI from too much typing.

And despite having been at my desk for nearly 15 hours, and having got an awful lot done, it still doesn’t feel enough to enable me to have it all finished in two weeks time.

In fourteen days time I’ll be packing up this study. It had all better be finished by then. There are going to be many more long days (and nights) like this one. But for now, I need to go to sleep. I’ve lost my edge, can’t concentrate as well, and will probalby end up spellign everythign wrogn.

The art of shredding

Close up photograph of shredded paper.

Today I are been mostly … shredding confidential papers…

So now, this is the art
To shred… its only emotion.
Pantera, from the song The Art of Shredding

…and clearing out my filing cabinet.

As I was feeding sheet after sheet into the shredder — it’s the Fellowes OD700C model, thanks for asking. Yeah that’s right, the cross-cut version; that’s what the ‘C’ stands for in the model number. Yeah, yeah I think it’s more secure that way too — I wondered why I had bothering printing all of this out and storing it in my filing cabinet. Most of these papers I still have in electronic format.

I should learn from this. Not all papers sent to me need to be printed out, and for meetings I’m sure most of these could simply have been transferred to my Psion PDA.

Operation Clearout, pt.2

A pile of clothes lying on a bed, and an over-stuffed laundry basket. Three suits hang by the window.

The Great Clear-out™ continued apace this morning with my wardrobe and drawers being utterly decimated. Most of my old clothes will have to go to the great landfill in the earth, but a few can be salvaged and sent to feed the unclothed of Corstorphine.

Here’s what I’m getting rid of:

27 t-shirts
7 shirts
2 clerical shirts
3 trousers
2 shorts
3 Scotland Rugby Union replica shirts
7 jumpers
2 pairs of shoes
2 pairs of trainers
2 black suits
1 black suit jacket (no trousers)
2 coats

This afternoon we tackle Jane’s books and our overstretched videos collection, as well as somehow transport my mountain of clothing to either the bin or the local clothing bank.

I love playing Win it or Bin it™.

Purging bookcases

Photograph of two bookcases, one on the left has 3 empty shelves

The pre-move purging has begun. This morning I went through my main, theology bookcases in my study and pulled out all the books that I know I’ll never read again, or even for the first time in some cases.

That’s the thing with us theologians: we do have a terrible obsession with collecting books. It’s one of the occupational hazards that comes with working for an omniscient being; it’s a real struggle to try to keep up!

A lot of the books I’m getting rid of I picked up as freebies, a special deal for ordinands at theological college: inherit the libraries of deceased clerics. A lot of the books reflect my interests ten years ago. It was hard to let go of some, knowing that while I’d love to spend the time getting into that particular branch of theological enquiry, realisitically I know that I’ll never get around to reading them. Some books I bought for background reading on a particular event; that event has passed and I’ve no need to hold on to it now.

Thankfully, the exercise was easier than I had anticipated. I realised that deciding which books to keep and which to dispose of is, for me at least, also a question about defining at least part of my self-identity, because I hold a great deal of value in knowledge, and books reflect something of that. Also, until now, I’ve seen myself very much as a theological resource for the communities of faith to which I have belonged, and so while I suspected that I wouldn’t ever be called upon to draw on the collected wisdom of those volumes that I’ve now binned I still held onto them … just in case.

It is almost nine years since I began at TISEC and if I’ve not used these books by now in full-time, stipendiary ministry, I doubt I ever will. Besides, I’ll soon have free access to St Mary’s College theological library.

But I’m moving on now; and moving on professionally into a totally different sphere. In a sense the exercise of redefining who I am began about a year ago when I started to explore the possibilities of what and where I might go next, and was resolved about three months ago when I decided that I would wholeheartedly look for employment in the area of Information Architecture (I know I promised I’d write a bit about what that is sometime, I’ve not forgotten).

I now already have three empty shelves, and two boxes of books ready to be picked up by the kind people who run the annual Christian Aid book sale in May at St Andrew’s and St George’s, George Street, Edinburgh. And there are many more bookshelves to purge. It has only just begun.

Choosing a removals firm

Photograph of a cardboard box, taped closed

Today I telephoned round three different removals firms. Two that St Andrews had recommended (Pickfords Corporate and Crown Worldwide) and one that we had used for our move from Inverness in 2003 (White and Company). White and Co. were immediately able to arrange a visit to assess what needs moving; they are coming next Thursday, thanks for asking. Pickfords and Crown will get back to me.

For the first time in my working life I am moving to a job where my employer-to-be is offering to pay removals expenses. We’ve been asked to obtain three quotations, and St Andrews will pay for the cheapest. (Thank you.)

The first time we moved, from Edinburgh to Inverness in 1999, I hired a van and Jane and I moved all our worldly belongings (a rocking chair, four bookcases, a bed, six guitars, and lots of boxes of books and music) up the A9 ourselves, before returning to Edinburgh to get married.

Moving from Inverness back to Edinburgh three years ago we employed White and Co. to move us. They were excellent, which is why we’ve asked them for a quotation again. I packed, they moved, Jane was in Edinburgh for a week beforehand painting and carpetting the house — ably assisted by friends and family — like our lives depended on it. We’d accumulated a lot more by then: a sofa and chair, another bed, a desk and filing cabinet, and a whole lot more. Certainly more music and books, and probably a few more computers, too!

And now, here we are again, poised to move north and east to Fife, to Cellardyke. Probably with a lot more stuff.

Where do we begin? I’m off to make a list…

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