Despite meteorological indications to the contrary spring should be springing soon. Days are definitely getting longer and the annual (and fleeting) desire to clean has come upon me. This must be embraced and actioned promptly as it will so soon pass. Most of the year I concur with Quentin Crisp who stated that after the first four years the dust doesn’t get any worse 1. So, loins girded, I have been through the spice cupboard, consolidated the three half jars of cumin and ditched those annatto seeds. I have taken to the wardrobe finally admitting that tangerine flares are not coming back and I will never lose enough weight to wear that scarlet velvet wrap dress. But one area is sacrosanct – the bookshelves.
I say one area but in our house we have a fairly relaxed attitude to bookshelves – we do have bookshelves of course, loads of ‘em. I have doorways blocked up with bookshelves, but there are also desks, bedside and occasional tables and dressers which form cosy nests for homeless books and the floor of course – any untenanted floorspace within 50 yards of a bookshelf is fair game for overflow. When it all gets too much and the cats can no longer find the feed bowls I do some rigorous weeding and re-homing but it hurts and I try to avoid it.
- 1. The Naked Civil Servant (Jonathan Cape, 1968) ^