I’ve become the victim of mental overcrowding – which I assume is the opposite of the mental space one of my managers has sometimes said she wants me to have more of – without really knowing how it’s happened. I suppose that’s the way it always goes. You think you’ve secured your borders and put a strict quota on thoughts coming in, and before you know where you are they have sneaked in through the fire escape or somewhere. I know I’ve now taken this metaphor as far as it can go.
I can’t help feeling there is some connection here with the fact that the walls seem to be closing in on me because of the fact that the clutter in the house is approaching critical mass. I can only avoid claustrophobia by spending most of my day in the conservatory with the door open. This will no longer work once autumn really sets in, but luckily it has temporarily retreated and we seem to be having a warm spell.
Of course there are other factors at work too, some of which have been exacerbated by my own actions and some which haven’t. I’m going on a work trip to Thurso next week, which would be complicated enough – for anyone who doesn’t know this, Thurso is almost at the very tip of the north of Scotland, and it takes eight hours to get there even from Edinburgh. I must admit, though, to having complicated things perhaps unnecessarily by choosing to do the journey there in three stages and the journey back in two, and spending my two nights in Inverness in two different hotels. There are additional complications caused by the actions of other people, but I won’t go into those.
And then there’s the way the simplest activities become more difficult than you think they will. For instance, I remembered today that the cat needed a new bottle of pills. Normally it wouldn’t be too difficult to go up to the vet to collect them. Theoretically it’s only about fifteen minutes’ walk. But due to being exceptionally decrepit at the moment, and not having taken any painkillers at lunchtime as I was distracted by preparing two new books for publication – more on that story later – I had to drive there. Soon after I set out, I remembered that the road junction where I usually turn up towards the vet’s is closed at the moment for roadworks, and just as I was driving the long way round to the vet’s I remembered that the cat had also run out of smoked salmon paté, which is currently the only foodstuff in which we can hide the pills and ensure he takes them. Still, there’s always a bright side, and while I was in the supermarket looking for smoked salmon paté, some cakes also found their way into my basket.
Maybe getting the two books out of the way will help a bit, although I am really only doing that so that I can get on with the next one, or two, or three! Ideas are already piling up in the back of my mind like new stock waiting to be brought into the front of a shop.
And then there is the 26th of September, a day of infinite activity, apparently. Not only is it a special birthday for someone in my family, but I have also arranged to go away for the day, and invitations to do other things on that date ranging from watching the demolition of a local power station to attending the Labour Party conference have been
cluttering up my inbox arriving thick and fast for several weeks.
I know that if the worst comes to the worst I can hire someone to help me with de-cluttering the house, but goodness knows what I will do about the mental de-cluttering that’s evidently needed.