Friday, July 1, 2022

Making room for the now

Steve Wyn-Harris finally found the time to clean out the workshop, putting a satisfying end on a period of procrastination.

Several strands of my life have interwoven to bring about change.

Having written that, I realise that you will be expecting something of immense importance or significance.

Maybe for me, but I think you will be disappointed where we are going with this.

I’ve started burying the odd mate so the fragility of life, indeed of one’s own life, is now considered and confronted.

Overlaying this is the realisation that my farming career of 40 years is approaching its own conclusion.

Last week I woke up for my 63rd birthday and it was raining.

I lay in bed listening to the rain drum on the roof while my good wife delivered me a cup of coffee instead of the usual reciprocal arrangement and then she went off to sort out a cooked breakfast as requested. 

A birthday does still give one some advantages.

I mused on how I might use this day productively to improve my life and came upon a plan.

I have a constant irritant that troubles me more than it should and could be easily fixed with just some of my time. 

But for no reason I can fathom, it sits there bothering me and yet I don’t help myself by dealing to it.

Well, today was going to be the day given the rain, the prospect of death at some point and the looming end of my career.

I was determined to finally get stuck into cleaning out my workshop.

I used to keep on top of it with the imminent arrival of my father-in-law for an annual visit, but he’s been gone for nearly a quarter of a century.

The main incentive was my growing concern that I might actually leave it too late and my three sons would gather some time after the funeral and do it themselves, with a mixture of amusement and disparagement.

I always feel troubled when I go into someone else’s workshop that is tidy, ordered and there’s little pictures on the wall of a tool and all the actual tools are in their place.

It shows the signs of someone on top of things and in control. 

Or of too much time on their hands.

I’m no hoarder but don’t like to throw out; something that may have lost its use but is still too good to chuck out. 

That sentence makes me now wonder what the definition of a hoarder might be. 

I’ve saved you the trouble and looked it up.

A hoarding disorder is where someone acquires an excessive number of items and stores them in a chaotic manner, usually resulting in unmanageable amounts of clutter.


After a good breakfast I entered the lion’s den.

Out went all the rusty nuts and bolts that I’d overlooked for four decades in favour of the newer shiny ones. 

Never going to be used. 

Same with the second-hand gudgeons.

I stripped the used, although still functional, trough valves of their unbroken arms and dumped them.

Quite a bit of furniture that I’d grown up with, but Jane replaced with fancier models, headed for the fire heap.

The second-hand running machine that I’d scored for dropping a tree for a townie, but never actually used, got dragged out to the heap.

My old faithful pack that came with me through uni and around the world a couple of times was difficult to bid farewell to.

The Donald load bars, weighing unit and printer should really have gone to a museum. 

They had replaced the old mercury scales in a technological leap, but in turn been superseded by several advances with the latest reading the EID stud tags and blue toothing the data to the weigh scale.

No difficulty throwing several decades of accounts onto the fire heap. 

Not being certain if the requirement was now five years, I erred on the side of caution and retained the last seven financial years, should IRD like to spend many happy hours trawling through my affairs.

Jane came out to encourage the cathartic cleansing going on and immediately spotted her discarded childhood ice skates used on the dam in the depths of a Middlemarch winter a lifetime earlier.

She remonstrated and an intense discussion ensued.

I said if she wanted to keep them, they were going to the house not staying in the workshop. 

They got thrown out.

Perfectly good neon tubes for lights that no longer existed went off to meet their maker.

And so it went on and a further half-day later in the week was needed to complete the job.

But I now have a tidy and empty shed, with absolutely no clutter.

Very satisfying.

I moved my golf clubs into a more favourable position than where they have been stuffed and noticed one of the golf shoes was missing.

A job for today is to clamber through everything discarded on the fire heap and hopefully find it.

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