Saturday, 21 January 2012


What is it with people & their stuff? I watched a stand-up comedian on youtube musing over our necessity to have stuff - 'if you didn't have so much goddam stuff you wouldn't need a house...' An interesting concept, although I admit to taking comfort in the running water & heating benefits of my house, the number of surfaces on which stuff can be accumulated are simply ideal & the amount of seemingly random & perhaps rather useless stuff which fills my every nook & cranny certainly requires a house. Bits of paper, owls, material, owls, clothes, owls, bags, owls, accessories, owls, books, owls, stationary, owls, ornaments, owls, & so on that swim around on my bedroom floor, one would be forgiven for believing that Bella's dwelling spot does not in fact HAVE a floor. I have an extremely tidy friend who's habits verge on the side of OCD - pens sit in neat lines on her desk while her toothpaste hangs in it's own little pouch attached to the wall above her sink. Very sweet. I think this chum is quite frankly dumbfounded by my 'stuff' accumulating habits & would like to drown me in a blanket of her positive influence under which a summer photo album isn't precariously balancing on a pile of GCSE notebooks. She actually tried to help me get rid of some of my stuff, exclaiming in quite an alarmed manner throughout the process - Bella, what on earth is this!? A broken torch? An empty match box? Surely you don't need this kinder surprise toy circa 1995? Why keep bracelets which have lost their beads? To each of her questions I refuted strongly, explaining that all my stuff really is necessary in one way or another. An empty matchbox? It's to store paper clips, of course! The broken bracelets? I'll remold them into earrings! Durrr. An hour & a half later all she'd persuaded me to throw away was two beads the size of a couscous. And even that I regretted.
I am a lost cause.

Right, well I've chatted about some of my bedroom stuff so let's now move onto my bag stuff. The stuff I take when I'm going here & there. I simply could not leave the house without a bag of stuff, filled to the brim with all the necessary things which provide a sense of security when faced with the outside world. The basics - eyeliner, lipstick, a few make up brushes, some cover-up, bottle of dry shampoo, vaseline, a comb, pens, pencils, a rubber, my diary, oyster card, purse, keys, a hat, a bottle, my camera, ipod, the metro, the Sunday Times magazine, tea, contact lens solution, tissues...all pretty straight forward? Despite the quantity, you can understand my need for those things? Ok, now here's the test - try & work out the necessity for some of the other bits & bobs found lurking in my bag (you may struggle, but trust me, EVERY has it's purpose). More bag stuff: knitting needles, wool, a bag of felt, buttons, a sewing kit, cotton wool, an electric lint remover, a stanley craft knife, Indian black ink pot, a shoe insole, a single earring, used coffee cups...I could go on. As a result of my bag situation I often have a painful left shoulder. Maybe I should leave the electric lint remover at home more often. Maybe.

As well as all the above listed baggy bits & bobs, I also always carry a sketchbook. At the moment It's a little Indian one with recycled paper. I draw in it at any opportunity - simply anything in my sight at the given moment. More useful than the used coffee cups in my bag? Who knows.

I've chatted before about making books. Below is one I made & took with me on the 'Chi Kung' retreat I went on a few weeks ago (wrote about it in my last blog post, in fact). Check out some of my strange diagrams trying to explain the practise in the hand-made book bellow!

Since going on the retreat I've been practising Chi Kung every morning for 15 minutes. It's a great routine & I find it good to fully relax before the hectic STUFF filled day begins.

And yes, the movements really do have names like 'Beautiful butterfly dances in front of flowers', 'Pushing mountains' & 'Raising the sky'. It may sound completely nutty, but I find it completely wonderful.

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