On Organisational Excitement

So it’s been a little while since my last post, because it has been Christmas, and the festivities have somewhat overshadowed my laptop, and my usual surgical connection to it. However, now that Christmas is over, I will be able to resume this particular occupation. I’m sat at my laptop at the moment waiting for the world to become light, so that I can go for a four mile walk behind my house; I hate walking in the dark, and since the street lights are still on, the sky is looking grey and gloomy. It would be more noteworthy if the sky was bright blue and teeming with sunshine.

Christmas time is one for family, and it’s one of my favourite times of year. New Years Eve, on the other hand is about friends, and raucously enjoying the beginning of the new year. It was rather well coordinated in my opinion; each social circle gets a holiday each, and therefore everyone is happy. Problems really only seem to arise when others try to alter this schedule, or interfere in the Christmas routine. Every household has one, whether it is an acknowledged one or not; things fall into an accepted rhythm, and this is possibly why so many family altercations happen around this time of year. Fundamentally, we cannot agree to change a beloved routine, and despite it being the season of giving, we find it difficult to be flexible when people decide to alter our plans for us.

Now, the dark grey gloom is only a mediocre grey… and so it’s time for a brisk morning stroll.

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That was a very brisk morning walk. It’s amazing how much can be accomplished when you get up really early…

All people are affected by this idea I think. We are all creatures of habit; we construct routines because they make us feel safe and secure, and as though we have a purpose. Personally, I need a routine of work, errands, exercise, and so forth, because otherwise I get lost inside the folds of all that spare time, and things stop being as productive as they ought to be. Schedules make my world go round; I appreciate the aesthetics of the Filofax, as well as the Blackberry organiser feature, and calendars are one of my favourite items to shop for. Staplers, folders, art supplies, pencils, sketch pads. They are all items designed to make us more efficient, productive, creative, and organised. I love shopping for these things.

At the same time however, too much structure is crippling to us young people; we like to feel as though we are free. Essentially though, we’re obliged to do things, be things, and achieve something during our waking hours, whether this is making something beautiful on paper, or going to work to earn a little bit of money. Working itself raises the self-esteem of a person, no matter how menial a job, because you are a part of something. It will never be easy to get up on a cold winter morning and be at work for seven, but it feels good to have done it, and taken care of something to do. If a job is worth doing, you might as well do it properly too. Work is pointless if you just drag yourself around all day, avoiding doing anything even vaguely productive. Plus, time slows down to geological levels when you try to do nothing; you’d be better off doing something and moaning, as opposed to not doing anything. The doing passes the time until home time, as well as making you more popular with your boss, work mates, and with yourself. And the whole point of work is to get through the day, doing well, and of course, getting paid. We all have to do it, so might as well enjoy it too. Working also means I get to write down the appointments in my organiser and my Blackberry…

So, in conclusion, I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas, and I hope everyone has fantastic plans for this evening, and have a wonderful new year!

(:

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Good Morning, Christmas Eve!

This morning is one of the two mornings a year when school aged children are willing to arise from their beds; Christmas Eve is upon us. This magical day has religious significance, familial significance, and corporate importance, to almost everyone. This year for me however is going to be slightly different, because I am going to spend the morning with my family, decorating a beautiful gingerbread house, but this afternoon, I shall be going to work. This seems like an extraordinarily grown up way of conducting the day; as children, the afternoon would be used for playing with the garland, making stockings for teddy bears, and watching Christmas films.

(1) Christmastime in Harrods

Christmas tends to be one of those reflective periods of the year, especially since it falls very close to New Years Eve, a time where we make resolutions, and promptly break them at some point on the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd of January. I find the progress of the resolution strangely amusing in the way that one’s conviction for it decreases in direct proportion to the time passed immediately after it. New Year’s Eve resolutions are perhaps made to be broken, in the same way as tulip shaped wine glasses, and plastic children’s toys.

I find the Christmas period one unrivalled in attitudes by any other time of year. At no other time of the year is eating until you are considering vomiting an encouraged practice. The consumption of mince pies is, at no other time of year, a pleasant afternoon past time. During the course of weeks one to fifty-one of the year, drinking Bucks Fizz at breakfast is frowned upon. But not for Christmas. Considering the origins of the holiday, these practices present something of an attitudinal paradox.

To my untrained mind at least, Christmas seems to present something of a release from the restrictions and the tensions of the year that has just passed. Where people have been running through London’s complex tube system at six thirty every morning for fifty weeks, they relish the opportunity to exchange this for a very hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon, smoked salmon, and kippers, accompanied by Buck’s Fizz. These foods represent the luxury of time which very often evades us, for most of the year. Christmas is also a time where paying mortgages, and saving up a nest egg, tends to be something of an abandoned practice; instead, we lavish gifts on family and friends, buy fine foods, gallons of wine, and seek only really, to be merry. This celebration of the year is a kind of reward: a reward for doing so well, surviving the pressures of life, and therefore instead of resisting the pleasures of life in favour of a slightly more attractive waistline, we tuck in.

The Christmas period offers us also, the opportunity to become creatures of leisure, something we don’t tend to be able to do very often during the year. Being a student, I have plenty of time for reading books, however they are not my books of choice; they are lovely books, they are classical books, but they are a part of my “job”. Over Christmas however, I get to indulge in the classics I have chosen for myself, such as Dostoevsky’s Devils, and The Picture of Dorian Gray. I also get to draw during the festive period, squeezing it in between walks and work. For the very reason that I get to be at home whilst I do all this, it’s my favourite time of year.

I hope everyone has a fantastic day today, and have a happy holiday!

(:

(1) http://www.shoppingblog.com/2011pics/harrods_christmas_world_department_2011.jpg

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A Day Spent with a Bottle of Bleach

Today has been a day of cleaning, sterilizing, bleaching, and so on. I want to leave my flat sparkling and tidy before I come home for Christmas, so I can come back for new years refreshed, and with the attitude of “tidy flat, tidy mind”. Which is always helpful when you are drowning in a quagmire of essays, essay preparation and the never-ending list of compulsory reading. And then there’s the list of suggested reading. And that is also, a never-ending one.

It’s interesting to consider how important environment is in relation to one’s ability to be productive. Living in chaos consistently makes it impossible to achieve what you wanted to, because you can think about nothing except the clutter around you. It’s depressing to live in a dirty, untidy environment, and it starts to take over your world, becoming a little game, of which mug is the cleanest out of these mouldy ones, or can I eat without having to actually use cutlery? That is really no way to live.

Personally I like to plan how I’m going to decorate my house when I am older; what I will do in terms of colour schemes and flooring. Will I have carpet, of stripped wood? Will I have plenty of blankets or will the house be minimalistic? It will be a mixture of these things I think. And it’ll use many pastel colours and have pretty floral prints. It’ll be beautiful largely because it will be my house. My very own place. I’d also quite like Kenwood kitchen appliances in pop art pink, too.

For now however, I’m living with an oven that is temperamental at best, a microwave that regularly turns into an incubator for all that is bacterial and viral, and a kettle which sits next to the hob, next to the only plug socket, causing it to collect grease on top of it. The worst part though, without competition, is the extractor fan. Which drips grease. Some would ask why buy cooking oil, when it is freely dripped, quite literally, from above. I’d argue it’s revolting and could persuade a person to avoid eating altogether. But that’s just my little quirk.

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I thoroughly enjoy student living though. It’s humbling, to remember that luxury is not normal, and smart-price everything is perfectly acceptable; look on the bright side, at least all your store cupboard items will match! It’s nice to keep it clean anyway though. I reject the premise that students are all pigs, rolling around in their own mess. I think that if you want to enjoy university, you have to make an effort; house mates do not like the untidy species of student, in the same way that they don’t like the one who steals the cheese.

So I shall keep persevering with my bottle of bleach and J-cloths, because then we all get to be in a nice clean flat, and be productive and happy people. Besides, the ability to see the table surface means that we can use it to play poker and monopoly.

(:

(1) http://hookedonhouses.files.wordpress.com/2008/03/babybluesblinds1.jpg

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I Love the Traditional Christmas Dinner

As far as dinner with my beautiful flat-mates goes, yesterday’s Christmas dinner was nothing short of phenomenal. Out table heaved, our stomachs stretched, and we all changed into stretchy trousers and baggy t-shirts. This bounteous feast included roast beef, pigs in blankets, Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes, roast parsnips, carrot and swede mash, apple and onion infused red cabbage, steamed sprouts and broccoli, bread sauce, onion gravy, and finally cranberry sauce. It was excellent, an amalgamation of all that is the British Sunday roast and/or Christmas dinner. We ate until we could eat no more. And then we took a quick break to do some washing up, and came back for the Christmas pudding, chocolate gateaux, mince pies, and brandy sauce.

The British ability to munch through a feast of this magnitude took me aback last night; I usually try to avoid feeling vaguely nauseous when I eat, but last night, in view of this fantastic feast, I felt it was more of a pain barrier that once pushed through, would never again affect me. Obviously this was not true, but it was amazing nonetheless; why do we seem to feel it’s appropriate to resemble the stuffed turkey after eating on Christmas? I’m fairly sure that according to the Biblical tale, there were no pigs in blankets or red cabbages on the table.

Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed the embracing of tradition. I’ve always liked things to have some root, and some meaning behind them, perhaps due to my perception of the world, and somewhere along the line, it probably has something to do with my capacity as an English student. We seem to have a running tradition of relating everything back to English studies in my flat, the joke being “it’s cause you study English”. I’m even more looking forwards to making a big bubble and squeak to use up all those vegetables, with poached eggs and bacon later.

It’s been the first Christmas dinner of the season, and probably the largest. On Christmas day I shall have to waddle into work immediately after, so smaller portions may be a prudent action. However, the turkey will be succulent, and I shall simply content myself to wobble around all day, and being very happy about it indeed.

And so Christmas begins… Merry Christmas!

(:

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