On Saturday morning I worked at Oxfam, didn't rescue many books, but did buy a few: "The Bowen Twins" by Deborah Tyndall (1930, first edition); "The Little Duke" by Charlotte Yonge (cute 1920s reprint); and "Hoodie" by Mrs Molesworth (1897, first edition!). Never read any Yonge before (though I've been meaning to since I first started reading Chalet School books in the late 80s, because the Chalet girls enthuse about her so much) -- I started reading "The Daisy Chain" in electronic form when I was working at ProQuest, but didn't get very far with it, largely because it was impossible to bookmark the e-text between sessions.
Dashed back early from Oxfam so that I could take pto452 to Witchford to get her dynamo looked at. Much prodding and swapping of parts ensued during which we observed some very strange behaviour, including the fault light going brighter when a dynamo was connected. Unrepeatable, unfortunately. We also observed just how fast an electromagnetic coil gets hot when a current is passed through it (*ouch*). Finally a new (well, reconditioned) dynamo was fitted, and this time I got as far as Stretham before the fault light came back on. It seems inescapable that there's a fault in the wiring somewhere -- and almost certainly not the control box, as these problems have persisted through the replacing of the old control box with a brand new one. Unfortunately, my friendly Minor mechanic says he's reached the limit of his electrical expertise, and I'll have to take P. to an autoelectrics specialist. He recommended Swavesey Autoelectrics, who according to the phone book don't appear to exist... Hrm.
Finally set off for my parents' house, clutching my giant badger. I was making good time until I hit the M1... when the overhead signs started saying that J21A-23 were closed owing to an "incident". There followed a long period of nose-to-tail queues, so slow that I could have sat and read a book while waiting to move. Finally came off at 21A (which is a sensible place to come off the motorway to get home anyway) having seen far more than I wanted to of the "incident" -- the remains of a little blue sports car sprayed across the four lanes of the M1, having (by the looks of it) hit the central barrier at some considerable speed. Nasty.
Stayed at my parents' house till late Sunday afternoon, having spent much of Sunday burrowing around in the loft. I managed to reduce my binbag-full of soft toys to a Sainsburys-bag-full ... many of the toys have sadly gone to the great bedroom in the sky as they were too grubby and tatty even to go to charity shops. I couldn't even remember most of their names, so I'm not too upset, though it was sad to see Baba (a hideous great blue cuddly doll) go. I have, however, rescued Big Hedgie (a hedgehog made of real fur) and some felt Care Bears that my mum made.
While burrowing I also dug out a load more games for the Apple ][, which I will hopefully find time to play at some point. Among them were the disks for Ultima IV, which I'm keen to attempt; unfortunately we never had the manuals/maps/etc. for IV, so I may have to try to acquire them somehow. Current best plan is buying a copy of Ultima IV for the Sega on eBay and hoping the documentation is the same...
God, this is tedious, isn't it. There isn't even any pithy moral to the story at the end.
Determined to clear more space at my parents' house, I finally got round to advertising the gigantic 21" TV (that's been sitting in the bottom of the wardrobe for about 5 years now) on ucam.adverts.giveaway. It was claimed within half an hour, and arrangements made to have it picked up at 11am the next day, which meant I could take it back to Cambridge safe in the knowledge that it wouldn't even have to enter the house.
Thinking I was on to a good thing with the clearing-out, I decided to advertise the AT which has been sitting in the garage for a similar amount of time. Dragged it upstairs, connected up the monitor/keyboard/etc., found a spare kettle lead, plugged it in ... and jumped backwards in alarm as it went *BANG* and started pouring real honest-to-goodness Magic Smoke into the living room. Awesome. My dad and I dragged the thing outside and took it to bits while my mum made worried noises; I've salvaged some cards, a 5¼" floppy drive and the monitor, all of which are now up for grabs on ucam.adverts.giveaway.
It's nice when things explode so you don't have to decide what to do with them. Sometimes I wish that all my paper memorabilia would spontaneously combust (miraculously not damaging anything else) so that I wouldn't have to make decisions on whether or not to keep it all.
Came back to Cambridge on Sunday night feeling refreshed, and motivated enough to make what I thought was a good start on the tidying ... but by midnight I still hadn't done enough to make sion_a happy. Maybe I need to take a couple of days off just to tidy. Which will probably involve moving all my stuff except furniture into my room so that it doesn't clutter up the house.
Today I took lots of photos of things to sell on eBay, but didn't get any further with the selling, as I really didn't want to spend all day sat in front of the screen. Though I did advertise lots of things on ucam.adverts.giveaway, many of which have been claimed already. Went shopping, did some piano practice, tidied a bit more (but mostly in places that won't be noticed), made dinner (pork chops marinaded in cider and garlic) and dessert (strawberries in Pernod with Greek yoghurt), and read some more of the thrilling adventures of that gentleman known to his friends as Simon Templar, and to the world at large as The Saint. Much-needed time off from stress. Another few weeks of it and I might feel human again.
Made the mistake of checking email before writing this, which has only served to make me cross with stupid people on mailing lists (I'm sure it's only a matter of time before I'm expelled from Girls Own -- up there with Thekla von Stift and Betty Wynne-Davies, the Girls The Chalet School Couldn't Reform!) and to make me feel the weight of all the relationships (in the broadest sense) that I'm trying and failing to maintain.
Still. Bedtime now. A thankfully short week beckons, and hopefully a quiet weekend at the end of it.