Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Listing, ferociously

I have a list. My list has a list. Greater lists have little lists upon their backs to bite them.

It's like the first few times Chris and I went on holiday together, when we were still new to this being grown-up business, and it took three weeks to plan for every holiday and six weeks to recover from it. These days we have a routine, and it takes a couple of evenings. This year I found myself pondering what clothes to take for a week in Britain during what is alleged to be summer, and decided just to pack the same as last year. It worked. I know what I need for trains and boats and multiples thereof, I know what and what not to expect from self-catering cottages in picturesque surroundings.

But I haven't done planes (boiled sweets for take-offs and landings)(got) before, nor a country so disinclined to allow visitors in (is passport machine-readable?)(yes). I've decanted my liquids (is lipstick a liquid?)(opinions vary - put it in liquid bag to be safe)(get mini-mascara)(done). I have debated what the epitome of English tea-toweldom would be (you'll see). I have selected a Very Fat novel (can I knit on a plane?)(yes - but Heathrow won't allow knitting needles through, so no)(fortunately, I do do other things). I have reminded Chris to pack his musical goat for Dorset (don't ask. Really, don't ask). I have pondered the existence of airline food (whether we'll get any, and whether it will be anything recognisable as food) and gone to the supermarket (Marmite breadsticks, cereal bars). I have reduced myself to two pairs of shoes (paint toe-nails)(done but still drying, and the toe-separators are giving me cramp). I have taken five minutes to despair of the Church of England, and wonder whether I could become a distance-Episcopalian (since part of the problem is cross-border incursions, I don't think it would help). It will all work out in the end. Just give me another cup of coffee, I need to wind down.


Anonymous said...

If it's not too late, I'd recommend a shawl or pashmina or something for the flight.

What are you reading?


Vivienne said...

I have a hand-knitted shawl (in order to prove that I can knit if only the airport would see sense) and a pashmina, and I am quite prepared to wear both at once.

Will be reading 'A Place of Greater Safety', because it has 872 pages and I doubt very much I'll finish it, although I may also tuck Mary Gentle's 'Orthe' in the luggage to be on the safe side (am still 5kg under my allowance so can afford to do this).

Anonymous said...

That's 872 pages of very small print, IIRC. You should be fine.

I've just finished The Sparrow, which was brilliant. (I don't necessarily recommend reading some of the most emotionally shattering stuff I've read in months with someone wittering in your other ear about football socks.But I had to find out what happened.)

Vivienne said...

I've seen smaller print. But I've also seen much larger.

'The Sparrow' would be the Jesuits in space you were talking about earlier? (Someone ought to write a novel called 'Jesuits in Space'. I'd certainly pick it off the shelf. It has far more of a ring to it than 'Scenes from Provincial Office Life', which I have been pondering but rejected on the grounds that I may need to continue working in a provincial office for some time to come, and haven't thought of a really fool-proof pseudonym.)

Anonymous said...

It would. There's a sequel, but I think I might try not to read it. The author has left it in just the right place, and more would spoil it.

When are you flying?

Vivienne said...

10.25 on Friday morning. Having arrived at Heathrow at 5.00 (only time Dad was available). I know they say you should allow a while for security, but four and a half hours may be a little excessive.

Anonymous said...

What time are you going through London - is meeting for a drink practicable? I was planning on being in town till fairly late on Thursday.

Vivienne said...

I get into Liverpool Street at about 8, and my ticket to Surrey is valid any time that night. Granted, I need to be conscious enough to get into the car at an indecent hour the next morning, but I can always spend the entire day asleep on various planes (sod jet-lag, I have decided it's another of the long list of things I'm not sure I believe in. Unfortunately the list also includes the fact that aeroplanes stay in the air, and recent headlines have not entirely helped).

Gill said...

I have turned off my fridge, defrosted my freezer and cleaned everything in the hopes that it won't grow mould while I'm gone. This did not work over Christmas.

I have made my already messy flat even messier in the process of trying to find things. This is unfortunate as some estate agents are coming to view it tomorrow. At least I cleaned the bathroom.

I have covered my bed in things and now I want to sleep.

What I haven't managed to do is actually pack anything yet.