This morning I had breakfasted, got the Old Bat up and sorted her breakfast, done the washing up, started the laundry, swept the kitchen floor and vacuumed the hall and living room - and I was still out on the Downs with the dog before nine o'clock. Everything was going smoothly. Serendipity indeed. Could this mean that I will at last start to make some headway with my "to do" list?
Yes, I have a "to do" list. I'm a list person, always have been. It's not something I'm especially proud of, but then, neither am I ashamed to say it. I think it's nature rather than nurture as I'm pretty sure my father was a list person as well, even if he did manage to subordinate the urge most of the time. I suppose it might be seen as a men-are-from-Mars-type thing as I'm sure it is a trait that has been seen in boys pretty much ever since trains were a common thing. Possibly even before then. Trains, why trains? you ask. Actually, for me it was even before trains; it was cars. I collected car numbers.
I can see your face as you read that last sentence, a sort of quizzical, is he mad? expression. But you must remember that when I was but a wee lad there were many fewer cars on the roads. My brother and I were able to play in our street in nigh-on perfect safety. There were only three cars in our road, a road of about a hundred houses. One belonged to the District Nurse who lived half-way down the other side, one belonged to my grandmother's posh neighbour (he owned his own shop) - and I can't remember who owned the other. Anyway, collecting car numbers was a common hobby for boys back then. We would write them down in a notebook in a sort of list. But that was as far as it went. We did nothing else with them, which made the whole exercise rather pointless. And it's not exactly as if it kept us off the streets!
But eventually we graduated to train spotting. This, too, involved collecting numbers (and names, as the classy engines were all named). There was a small, paper back book which could be bought quite cheaply and in there were listed all the railway engines in the country in there various classes - more lists. Having collected the numbers, we would carefully underline (in red) those railway engines we had spotted.
In my last job I would often make a list as the last thing before leaving for home at the end of the day. That list was to remind me of the jobs that needed doing the following morning. More often than not, I would make a start on the list only to find myself distracted by a more urgent job or a phone call. At the end of the second day at least half of the jobs would be carried forward again - but at least the list served to remind me that those jobs still needed doing.
Nowadays I find lists even more important. Especially shopping lists. Even if I have only four things to buy - and even if they are all from the same shop or store - unless I have a list to refer to, the chances are that I will get back home without something. I did it only last week. Four things I needed, three things I bought - and had to go out again to buy the bananas the Old Bat wanted!
Some people think that list-makers are organised folks, infuriatingly organised. Wrong. List makers are DISorganised - that's one of the reasons we make lists. Without them our lives would be not just chaotic, more like total anarchy!