What is hoarding really about?


Mon 15 – Sun 21 Oct 2018

Dealing with my hoarding addiction

I’m having a big clear out. Basically I have a hoarding addiction which is books and DVDs. I particularly buy them in charity shops and it’s got to the stage where it’s silly. I’m really proud of my collection of gay retro fiction which is actually spread over my flat and Dave’s. But there’s loads of other stuff that I think will be interesting to read or watch one day. And there is part of it that is just wallowing in nostalgia.

The incentive for action

Everyone who knows about me and my hoarding has a go at me. And the fundamental truth is that I won’t read all those books before I die. Rather I have them as a statement that I can and to give me a sort of comfort. We’ve got the date for when mum’s & my flat move is happening (I’m her main carer), it’s 13 Nov. Haven’t seen the flat yet, that comes next week. But it’s likely smaller and I’m a bit embarrassed with the amount that will have to be moved; the Housing Association has rationed the number of boxes we are allocated for the move!

Life is about phases

So I’m clearing out. I can look and see phases in my life, and there was a phase when I lived in Brighton not owning lots of stuff. Indeed, I can remember being bored. I look back now and think why didn’t I spend that time reading? Actually I spent the time getting pissed, high and wankered. Not sure if the mid-life crisis was with me – or with my partner and I was reacting to him?

Then I had a breakdown, returned to London, nearly died with blood-clots on my lungs, ended up in hospital, and found out I was positive. I hadn’t met Dave then but did realise how much I had ignored my family – my mum and brother. A new period of ‘comfort’ started and I began to collect books and DVDs. Hoarding to give safety and comfort – both false.Β That phase is now over. And I’m shedding much of the comfort blanket I have accrued.

It’s about recognising life will end one day and the things we gather around us, they won’t save us. Better to try to be at peace with the world and understand life is about hoping to make things better for those coming next; not attempting to live forever nor recreate the past. Shame on those horrible old politicians we are cursed with like Trump, May, Corbyn, Farage, Putin, Xi Jinping who don’t appreciate that.


I love the Notting Hill Exchange

book exchangeThe physical manifestation of this new phase is packing boxes for the move to the new flat. Also taking bags of books, DVDs and CDs to the Notting Hill Exchange as I did on Tues and Thurs morning. Heavy and awkward work with the need to use the bus.

I’ve had to explain to the guys working there about moving flat and downsizing to avoid them thinking I’m selling nicked stuff (though why I would nick such a load of crap is another thing). TBH, it’s a lot of work for limited reward. The exchange vouchers are reasonable whereas the cash offer is half that. But if I take the vouchers, I’m just going to buy more books! The lesson is don’t spend the money in the first place. πŸ™

Books and Reading

‘Authority’ by Jeff Vandermeer

Read last week, the second in the Southern Reach trilogy. The story is that a patch of land has become ‘contaminated’ probably by aliens – Area X. There is a boundary and anybody who goes over it ends up going crazy and dying. The first book was about an expedition into the area. This second book is about the man who takes over the agency that co-ordinates exploration of the infected area. Fundamentally the border is breached and the infestation starts to spread.

These are strange books. Not easy to read in their style and you sometimes have to re-read bits because major things happen but in a very under-stated way. But there’s a sense of dread and doom communicated through the books that is brilliant. Like a nineteenth century horror novel where you know it’s not going to end well and the words on the page themselves transfer across the gloom that is to come.

‘The Countenance Divine’ by Michael Hughes

I actually read 2 books last week and this was the other one. I really liked the cover and the plaudits for this book were also impressive. It’s quite David Mitchell-like with several lives across different times connecting up. But these are not ordinary lives, rather a group of famous people caught together in a meta-physical cult-like process that focuses on the year 2000. I’m really not 100% sure what was going on. I like obscure books but there’s obscure and then there’s ‘what the fuck is happening?’ This was a latter. The only good bit was envisioning if the fears over the Year 2000 computer bug had come to pass. Not recommended as one to read. πŸ™


Went toΒ St Martin in the Fields on Tues lunchtime to hear a free concert. It was a Croation pianist largely performing music by Croatian composers. Beautiful piano playing. I do find myself listening to more classical music. I don’t understand it but I just feel empathy with the music. My favourite is to lie in bed at night and put something on random on Apple Music then listen in the darkness.



I did feel some stress last week. And I probably did not keep my cool as I should have. But then telling people to keep calm can be a way of dealing with the symptom of what is causing stress rather than the fundamental problem itself.

Sad manIf I’m upset because someone in front of me has had a heart attack then me ‘keeping calm’ does not heal them. Indeed perhaps keeping calm is just a convenient way to ‘get back to normal’ as quick as possible and belittles the situation.

How to de-escalate and avoid stress when the vast majority of people don’t mean it to happen and everyone is just trying to be happy? That is the million dollar question that no-one has answered. Perhaps I should just stop caring and thinking so much…

Being ill

And I don’t think things were helped by me being a bit ill. Fri in particular I woke with a heavy head and felt dizzy through the day. Went to bed early and had a night of feeling hot and cold plus seriously weird dreams where my brain could not connect things together. This is one of my biggest fears. I met a man once who had a stroke and could no longer read because his brain could not join things up. πŸ™

when only bed can help

No jog-run πŸ™

This general feeling of being unwell carried on through the weekend with a general air of not wanting to do anything, sleepless nights, and extremes of feeling hot and cold. I also had muscle and joint aches plus my neck felt tender. Gave up on going for my weekend jog-run and spent time snoozing. Unfortunate but feeling unwell is making me not want to eat so much so perhaps there is a silver lining.

The People’s Vote March

I did manage to get to the People’s Vote march on Sat which was fantastic. So many good people. People like myself who don’t want to put their future in little England longing for the days of the return of empire.

The negative force that is nationalismNationalism is a strong force and so often it is used for bad. Why should I love one country more than another because I was born there? There is good and bad everywhere and that is the beauty of life. I’m really not sure my future lies in this country if it leaves the EU – it would be like being trapped on a small island with some very unpleasant people.

One stupid Leave person said why was I so upset about not being able to retire to Spain when I could retire to India instead?! Because India is a lot further away and as the environmental crisis increases air travel is going to become much more expensive and less frequent.

I don’t feel commonality with many Leave voters (and not at all for those motivated by racism). If you feel your life is shit then do something about it, don’t try to make everyone’s life shit. Perhaps we should have the benefits and gains transferred to individual level based on how you voted. I’ll pay a few pence more in tax to be able to live, work and get health care anywhere in Europe. The leavers can pay for visas and private health cover as they need it.

Other stuff about last week:

  • Spent a whole morning in with mum on Mon waiting for the removal people to deliver the packing cases for our move between 10 & 1 as we were informed on Fri evening. Guess what – they didn’t turn up till 4.15 after I had had to go into work. Still got some useful stuff done by working at home – letters and shortlisting.
  • I was so happy to have Fri in the office with no meetings simply so that I could catch up on paperwork like typing up the notes of 1:1 meetings with staff I manage.
  • My sustainability commitment didn’t produce much. Though I am definitely eating less meat and I put forward a plan at work around how we might be a more sustainable and environmentally friendly agency.
  • Contacted the guys at my gym to find out if there was any news on the refit. All going OK but no date for when it will re-open. πŸ™
  • Didn’t do as much DuoLingo as I would have liked. Simply insufficient time πŸ™ And absolutely no time for coding practice.

Next week:

  • My nephew is on half-term and is going to work with his dad (my brother). So they are both staying at mum’s which means I have to decamp to Dave’s for the whole week (otherwise the flat is too crowded). Hopefully me and Dave won’t murder each other.
  • Off to view the new flat on Thurs. Mum still thinks we have some ability to turn it down if we don’t like it…
  • I’m meeting an MP on Tues afternoon at the House of Commons. Looking forward to it – always good to come face to face with power. πŸ™‚
  • Taking more books and DVDs to the Exchange – taking on and defeating my hoarding addiction
  • I’ve started to read the Bryant & May novel by Christopher Fowler that’s next in the adventures as I work my way through them. Great fun. πŸ™‚
  • Listening to music and chilling πŸ™‚
  • Must get back to my jog-runs. Wonder if I should do 2 or 3 little 3k ones as the way not to aggravate my muscles and joints too much?
  • Meeting Helen Gazzi on Fri afternoon for a Tech for Good catch-up – postponed from last week
  • Gonna do language stuff cos I enjoy it πŸ™‚


skull and crossbones


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