Prior to leaving the UK nine years ago on a barefoot journey of discovery I sold or recycled the majority of my possessions because I wanted to walk the Camino de Santiago with everything I owned on my back. The stuff which remained was deemed too important to throw out and ended up in a garden shed at my mother's house in Norwich where it has stayed since then. In the last month my mother sold her house (seen above) and is now looking to buy a much smaller one, so basically my junk has to go.
But rather than ship it all over to France or pay to put it in storage in the UK, I thought I would take the opportunity to go through everything and reduce the pile to something more manageable. When I packed these boxes ten years ago I still had dreams of being a hollywood filmmaker! So yes, my priorities have changed a lot since then, thanks to the Grand Solar Minimum and the now evident decline of our food supply.
This is what it all looked like on the first day of my UK visit.
Other than that Chinese desk in the middle which was has sentimental value, the rest of the furniture I intended to recycle.
There were a few items which jumped out right away as being useful in my current life. Like this lightweight tent for example which was my home during the Camino walk & also in Asia during the years which followed.
I set it up to make sure it still worked. And it does!
It is now at the back of our French garden, getting the children used to the idea of camping out in the wild.
Going through every part of my old life piece by piece was quite an emotional experience. Extremely difficult at times to distinguish between 'no longer important' and 'too important to throw out'.
I have noted over the years how humans who have been sufficiently mind controlled by the age of materialism will spend their lives endlessly collecting junk and while they may feel a strong connection with this stuff and believe it to somehow define who they are, the junk ends up owning them and weighing them down, like the physical equivalent of emotional baggage.
George Carlin says it best of course.
With this in mind I have now reduced my stuff down to these eight boxes which include my old vinyl, photo albums, diaries, art, books, sculptures & project files. Oh, and an old Swiss cow bell I was christened in!
I have an uncle who will hopefully look after this lot for me until the next time I am called upon to go through it again, at which point I will likely reduce it further before eventually settling on a few essential boxes to keep with me wherever I go.
So, around 80% of my old stuff, once deemed as essential, is now making its way to charity shops and recycling centres. Like these three crates of books. Most of them relate to the films I studied at University and I simply don't feel them to have value in my life any more.
I took all the photos & paintings out of their frames, keeping the good stuff within.
But there were one or two which had stuck to the glass due to moisture and to remove them would have damaged them. Like this one of me in Switzerland where I spent a lot of time as a child.
Here is the house in which my mother was born during WW2. Amazing looking place!
Here's me when I started performing magic shows around the age of ten.
And here are my medals which were all achieved in my teens at school.
Aside from the 1989 magic award in the middle, most of them are shooting medals, the only sport I ever really excelled at. With a rifle I can hit something the size of a dustbin lid from 1 mile away without a telescopic sight, mostly because I started shooting at the age of seven. The schools I went to were quite military in nature and I don't think it is a coincidence that out of all the sports I could have chosen this is the only one with an obvious real world application which is more than just a sport.
I received a ton of these spoons before the age of ten, but only my first one remains now from 1985. At that time I was shooting smallbore rifles (.22 calibre) but even this is enough to kill a small animal if you are a good shot.
In later years I progressed to fullbore rifles (anything over 5.56mm calibre) which were powerful enough to leave bruises in my shoulder after each competition. The smell of spent bullets I will never forget. In case you are wondering, the bore (or calibre) is a measurement of the internal diameter of a gun’s barrel.
Here is a sculpture I made at University. In the end I scrapped the base but kept the darker wood carving at the top. That bit took me ages!
What about this 16mm film splicer I used during my BA honours degree? Amazing to think that back then this was the most advanced way to cut films together! You would physically cut out your desired shot from a very large roll of film and use the sellotape to stick it into the main sequence.
It is a heavy old thing and while it does have some great memories attached to it, will it every have application in my life again? Very unlikely. Sorry film splicer, I am grateful for your service but it is time to go.
Some things I left for my mother to use, like this distiller which is still the best way I know of to produce 100% clean water. Steam can hold no impurities.
So I think that's it. This list could go on forever.
It was wonderful being in the UK with my mother and it is wonderful being back home in France again, feeling lighter on my feet than ever. The kittens are growing up so fast!
And the fruits of our labour are in abundance.
It is worth noting that here in this country I have very few possessions. Kitchen equipment mostly (blender, juicer, dehydrator) but also some tools, some solar power, an ipad, mac laptop and a Linux based desktop computer with two screens. Other than my clothes and a few phones on which I take my photos that's about it. The entire worldly collection of @samstonehill can now be condensed to probably around ten boxes, easily enough to fit in a car.
For obvious reasons I leave you this time with two questions:
How much stuff do you have and do you really need it all during these times of change?
Love & Light everyone 🌱