River Wissey Lovell Fuller

Notes from a newcomer

January 2005

Marian admits to her obsession with lists!

A list of New Year resolutions is about the only list I don't make. It's hardly worth it as I only ever make one serious resolution - to drink more water - and I am not likely to forget that. (Keeping it is another story.) But for the rest of the year I am a dedicated list-maker. Any routine more complicated than getting up, going to work, eating dinner and putting the cat out before returning to bed requires a list. If there isn't a list pinned to the kitchen notice board or tucked in my handbag, I feel quite lost. And, as all list makers know, writing down a list of things to do gives you the comfortable feeling that you have already made a start on them. But things don't always go quite to schedule after that first step of getting it down on paper.

Take housework, for instance, I have been known to draw up a list of weekend chores that would make Kim and Aggie quail. On Friday, I write down everything from cleaning the oven and defrosting the fridge to mowing the lawn, sorting

out the airing cupboard, taking rubbish to the tip and catching up with my phone calls. Come Sunday evening, I review the list with an ironic eye, adding in brackets comments such as 'ha ha' and 'In your dreams' after the many jobs that remain undone. This is partly a result of doing things in the wrong order (making long phone calls to chatty friends before instead of after) but also being

hopelessly over-ambitious in the first place.

Keeping lists short and realistic gives a better chance of enjoying the satisfaction that comes with ticking items off once they are done. And it's perfectly okay to cheat and add something you've already done to the list just so you can tick it off straightaway.

Sometimes I worry that I have become too dependent on lists. If I lose my list while out shopping (it's all too easy to leave it clipped to that handy little board on the supermarket trolley) I take a few deep breaths, stay calm, and remind myself that if I buy things that were not on the list, the world won't come to an end.

One of life's minor thrills is coming across a long-forgotten list in an old coat pocket. '4 cns Guins, hf-doz eggs!! curry powder, pay Counc tx, tomato juice'. The more you pore over it the more puzzled you become. Whatever was so urgent about buying six eggs and why was curry powder underlined?

Most women are seasoned list makers and their lists usually practical involve tasks of some description. Lists compiled by men rarely require any action on their part. The hero of Nick Hornby's book High Fidelity is a typical case, addicted to making fascinating - but useless - lists such as his all-time top five episodes of Cheers or his five dream jobs (only five?).

When I ran my male/female list theory past my stepson he said men don't make

lists because they don't like taking a job away from a woman. Cheeky monkey!

I've a good mind to cross him off next year's Christmas present list.

Marion Clarke

Marian Clarke

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