Packing List – Postscript

Thinking about yesterday’s post – a packing list for a holiday – it occurred to me that it might be interesting to see what’s changed between then and now. How is this journey towards less stuff going?

* Laptop + PSU – yes, I still own a laptop (I’m typing on it now), but I never take it with me (except for work) – iPhone and sometimes iPad fill in nicely.

* O2 phone + PSU – long gone, just my iPhone now.

* Orange phone + PSU – long gone, just my iPhone now. In fact, this HTC phone was “loaned” to the older Waawo-ette senior, who promptly lost it. Remote control de-cluttering!

* HDD + PSU + USB Cable – gone. There are mirrored 2TB HDDs permanently on storing our video media, we just copy stuff to our phones when we want to travel anywhere. Other stuff is in the mythical cloud, courtesy of Apple and Amazon.

* MP3 player – still somewhere about, but never used. iPhone has taken over.

* MP3 radio thing – gone. It was rubbish anyway. Bluetooth is the way to go.

* West Wing DVDs – well, we still have the DVDs in the loft, but never play them. In fact, we don’t have a DVD player anymore.

* Maps – still got lots of OS maps…

* Cabin details – not exactly relevant anymore, but figuratively, I’m in the habit of sending details like this to myself on email so that I can just access them on my iPhone…

* Camera + PSU – still have the camera (a Canon DSLR) but I hardly ever use it, just use the iPhone camera now really.

* M. Mills book – still have this book, but it doesn’t have any great significance as an object, so like so many others it will eventually be replaced by a Kindle version.

* Tobacco + Papers + Lighter – neither of us smoke anymore.

* Chilli stuff + Pan – still got the pan, it gets used almost daily so was obviously a good purchase.

* Wallet – I’m on a different wallet now, but only have one these days, where I’m sure I used to have two.

* House keys – well, until remote locking for houses becomes commonplace, these aren’t going anywhere soon.

* Pants x 9 – obviously a change in approach, I very rarely wear pants these days, never at home, and so don’t now even own 9 pairs.

* Socks x 9 – no idea how many pairs of socks I own these days, I’d have to count!

* Jeans x 3 – well, I have three pairs of jeans still.

* Shirt x 3 – lots more than three shirts, although it would be interesting to keep track of how many actually get worn (except for work shirts).

* Dressing gown – yep, same one.

* Towel – it’s been replaced, we treated ourselves to new towels.

* Toiletries – yep.

* Coat – the black coat has been retired but is still in my wardrobe. I have precisely two coats that actually get used.

* All-Stars – currently have (I think) four pairs: black leather; blue canvas; red canvas; pink canvas (wedding shoes).

* Animal hat – lost somewhere or other. I have a new hat, a (faux) fur lined number with ear flaps that’s mega warm. And a new new hat, a black woolen one that was a Christmas gift this year, that the youngest Waawo-ette junior has taken a real shine to.

So altogether, not bad. I guess the main trend is a lot of convergence of technology into one device and greater use of online and cloud services for media. Certainly there’s a lot less wired stuff to carry around the place.

Packing List

With: Happy memories.
Without: A calendar.

While de-cluttering I came across this anonymous looking piece of paper:

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This is my packing list for a peachy holiday in Scotland in 2009 – the first time me and the Waawo-ette senior went on holiday together. We went to Scotland to a little cabin alongside a loch. At the end of the week, we were like, “There’s a loch?” 😉

Some explantion of the items:

* Laptop + PSU – this was for playing video mostly (since we weren’t expecting any kind of mobile phone signal and hence no email, and we were right); the laptop was an old Dell D630 which I gave to my dad once I no longer needed it and I believe it’s still in use.

* O2 phone + PSU – back in the days of multiple phones and multiple charger (pre mini-USB), I had this Samsung phone with PAYG O2 sim for contact with the Waawo-ette senior, I can’t really remember why I couldn’t just use my Orange phone though. Since we weren’t expecting any coverage, and I only used this phone for talking to Waawo-ette Senior who was in the cabin with me, I’m not sure why I bothered packing it.

* Orange phone + PSU – at the time I worked at Orange and I had a HTC Windows Smartphone which seemed great at the time. See comments above about lack of coverage. Although we were travelling a long way and our only satnav was Orange Maps on this phone.

* HDD + PSU + USB Cable – a 1TB HDD which had a lot of movies and lots of episodes of The Apprentice (UK) in mp4 format.

* MP3 player – well, for music!

* MP3 radio thing – for playing MP3 music on the car radio during the journey. Turns out we didn’t use this, I’d burned some CDs instead with an epic playlist of 500 songs.

* West Wing DVDs – we’re still watching The West Wing! Just last night in fact we bought The West Wing Season 2 on Apple TV – the umpteenth copy we’ve bought between us over the years. Watching In The Shadow Of Two Gunmen, Parts I and II all over again, I was struck by how they don’t feel almost fourteen year’s old. The existence of West Wing is a factor in why Waawo-ette senior and I are back together after all these years, but that’s a story for another time and another post…

* Maps – well, they didn’t get used much, since we had Orange Maps on my phone. The satnav was very basic – and we called her Morag – and had an irritating habit of just shutting herself down rather than recalculating the route if you ignored her instructions too much. She also had an unusual trait of taking us to places but by slightly inconvenient routes, such as a mid-week emergency shopping trip to Oban, where we ended up on the road next to the giant store, but the other side of a high wall from it, necessitating much to-ing and fro-ing.

* Cabin details – how to get there and stuff.

* Camera + PSU – I didn’t take a single shot the entire time we were there!

* M. Mills book – I can’t actually remember which Magnus Mills book this was, but I suspect The Restraint Of Beasts – his first novel. I loved (and still love) Mills’ quirky worlds and characters. Didn’t read a lot during the week though (although we do read a lot to each other now).

* Tobacco + Papers + Lighter – ah, the halcyon days when we both still smoked!

* Chilli stuff + Pan – I made possibly the first meal I ever made for Waawo-ette Senior, just chilli and rice (or did we have chips?) but it was yummy. There’s a photograph somewhere of me cooking it, I wonder where (I suspect it was taken on WS’s phone…)

* Wallet – well, for money and stuff.

* House keys – er, so that I could get back into my house?

* Pants x 9 – I guess we went for nine days, so I assumed nine pairs of pants. Ha! I think I wore pants travelling there, on our emergency shopping trip, and travelling home. The rest of the time was spent mostly in a state of undress…

* Socks x 9 – ditto.

* Jeans x 3 – ditto.

* Shirt x 3 – ditto.

* Dressing gown – now this did see some use, we both smoked at the time and it was a non-smoking cabin so we had to go out onto the stoop to do so. Given the typical Scottish weather – cold grey and raining the entire time – something was needed for warmth!

* Towel – I still have this urge to take a towel with me even to places I know there will be towels, like hotels and such like. I have to train myself not to, it’s such a waste of space and weight, especially on a plane trip.

* Toiletries – hm, funny thing is, I can’t remember the shower or bath in the cabin at all, I assume there was one though.

* Coat – probably that black coat, of Hayling Island fame (another story for another post).

* All-Stars – the shoes! Still wearing All-Stars, although not the same pair!

* Animal hat – duller than it sounds. Just a beige hat, of the Animal brand, with the word “Animal” stitched into the front. WS liked it though.

And that was that. Not exactly a heavy packing list, especially when you consider how many of the items are tech/media related. It would be very different today I expect, what with Waawo-ette Junior in tow!

Suffice to say the time away was fantastic: in bed, cooking and eating, smoking and drinking, watching TV, and listening to music. Repeat x 9 days. Drive home. The best holiday I’ve ever had, because we were just enjoying each other and the moment so much. No interruptions by anyone. Truly, LWoK! (An acronym to be explained in another post I guess…)

Suffice to say, it’s a piece of paper that isn’t going to be de-cluttered!

(Oh, in case anyone is wondering about the calendar: we were our usual slothful selves about ordering a new calendar, so I had to make a page for January 2014 and stick it on to last year’s…)

External links:
Cruachan Cabin

Paperwork II

With: A great sense of progress and satisfaction.
Without: Paper, paper, paper…

Massive paperwork tidying up splurge completed! All paperwork filed away, and the very small amount of stuff my lovely accountant needs to fix my tax return is ready to go off to him. And a tonne of stuff (may not be literally true) that’s no longer needed has gone to the great shredding heaven.

[Quick update: tax return stuff is even now winging its way to my accountant…]

De-cluttering is *good* :)


External links:
Just Pure book-keeping


With: A possible end in sight.
Without: A huge bundle of paperwork.

One of reasons I started this blog was to document – ironic choice of word – a decluttering journey, a general dis-accumulation of stuff. Do a simple search around the web and you’ll find no end of sites describing how stuff just clutters our lives and make everything much harder than it needs to be. I’m not a hoarder, never have been, but I do have a few blind spots, and one of them is paperwork.

Those of you paying attention will recall how a few days ago I had to turn the house upside down looking for my driver’s license. I resolved at the time to sort out the paperwork, and tonight began to do just that. There’s an additional incentive, which is that I need to sort out a few financials for my tax return (eek), so the time as they say, is now.

First step: get all the paperwork relating to me into one pile. Check.

Second step: get all of the envelopes and other obvious rubbish into a pile and into the recycling bin. Check.

Third step: get everything for scanning and shredding into one pile. Check. This is a big pile:

This is all paperwork that has identifying details and therefore, in the interests of avoiding identify scams, needs to be shredded. Some of this needs to scanned first before being shredded. The scanning and shredding is a job for tomorrow!

[Quick update: it’s done! Some things scanned & shredded, most just shredded. Gone forever (from my physical world at least).]

Fourth step: get all academic certificates into a pile and sorted into date order. Check. They then went into the certificate book:

This book holds certificates going back 26 years, including (charmingly) a GCSE certificate (B in Welsh!), which seems ever so irrelevant now.

Fifth step: everything else is in a pile, ready to be sorted and filed in a not-shiny not-new but empty filing box:


This is stage two, tomorrow night!

[Quick update: it’s done!]

Just to give an idea of the scope of some of the other decluttering that’s got to be done, here’s a shot of the inside of our “work” cupboard, where the laptop and a couple of other bits of pieces are supposed to live. Only now they’ve been joined by quite a lot of other stuff:


Eek! That’s yet another job for yet another day!

External links:
365 less things
Becoming Minimalist

Land’s End

With: Wind in my ears.
Without: Any more land to walk on.

Quick pre-work trip to Land’s End. Never been here before, and was only ten miles away so thought I’d just take a bit of a, er, detour.

The tourist “attraction” clinging to the end of Cornwall looks truly hideous. Even without a billion or so tourists milling around. On a cold grey wet January morning it’s pretty bleak, but I can just imagine the money grabbing hell this place is on a sunny August Saturday. So no more to say about that.

The end of Cornwall? Windy, rugged, awesome. Look in one direction only please. Dodgy horizons on these pics.



I’ve also got a mad crazy idea to walk from Land’s End to John o’Groats. Why? Because I can I suppose. Edges, end to end, all of those things – although a little bit of thinking makes me realises that it’s probably 850 miles out of 875 total from which the ocean won’t be visible. Hmmm.

External links:
Land’s End – The Attraction
Land’s End – Wikipedia
Land’s End to John o’Groats – Wikipedia
Land’s End to John o’Groats with Mark Moxon

Cross-hairs mark the spot

With: My own coffee!
Without: A bad word to say about Travelodge (except for the coffee).

I am here:

photo (1)

The “hospitality” tray isn’t so great though – who can live with just a couple of sachets of regular Nescafe and a couple of sachets of decaff? Note I brought my own coffee and mug:

photo (1)

Other than that though, I love Travelodge. Just call me Mr Budget Traveler, even when work is paying. Fiscally responsible, that’s me. Really, there’s a complete lack of pretension or complications at these places, and at the end of the day, I just sleep well there, so what’s not to like?

Tomorrow I’ve got to go here:


Question is, can I find time to quickly slip here:


[Quick update: I did find time!]

External links:
RNAS Culdrose (Royal Navy)
HMS Seahawk (Wikipedia)

Black Down

With: Marilyn #2
Without: A cloud in the sky!

Another fine Saturday, so another Marilyn. Black Down, in West Sussex, is a strange peak – tree covered and not massively peaky. 290m at the trig, fab views in both directions – including down to the previously mentioned Butser Hill.

No pics (apart from the GPS confirm), think there are two more Marilyns in West Sussex to tick off…


External links:
Black Down, West Sussex – Wikipedia
Black Down, West Sussex – National Trust

First day back

With: A map to help me get to my office.
Without: Anything.

First day back – not at work, but at work in my own office. Long break, followed by a trip up north, equals a big culture shock. Plus, determined to do work “better” this year: less procrastination, more assertiveness, better plan and more adherence to that plan. Check back later to see how that’s working out…