I love lists. As a child my life was ruled by adults with lists. Mum would send us off to Dad’s with a list, which would then be ticked off on the homeward journey. She had a little red notebook in which she would write her shopping list, old envelopes would be used for writing directions when we first passed our driving tests (in list format). She would also send us off to our grandparents with a list where we would be treated to a list of things we would do. In Bath Granny & Grandpa always managed to coincide our visits with this arduous task of delivering church magazines, of course masterminded by a list, but it meant we had lots of cakes. Going to Warwickshire Granny would have a list of National Trust properties or gardens we would visit, again more cake!
Towards the end of the holidays we would have the mad stationery frenzy list, the school uniform doldrums list of doom and the dreaded school shoes debacle then when we got to school we would have to lay our clothes out on the bed (a ritual called laying out) so that a sixth former or house mistress would check it off. I learnt my school uniform laying out parrot fashion and it went like this:-
Left hand column – cloak, blazer, 2 skirts, 2 ties, 4 shirts (1 of which must be blue), 2 jumpers, 7 pairs of socks etc etc ad nauseum a list of brown regulation clothing
Right hand column – 1 continental quilt (it was an old list, now they’re called duvets), 2 quilt covers, 2 pillowcases, 2 mattress sheets, then a whole load of personal effects we were allowed to bring which included 1 poster to go on the wall but not with blutack and 1 pair of outdoor shoes, 2 skirts, 2 tops, 1 jumper and 1 pair of trousers
Each task at work had a list as long, my wedding list was one that would rival military precision and dinner parties had an ingredients list.
When I first announced I was pregnant a friend suggested I would really struggle with not randomly running out of the door when the mood took me – ha to her! I simply wrote a list, had a kit bag in the car and a bag in the house – I mean leaving the safety of home isn’t like it was back in the day when the shops shut on a Saturday afternoon and didn’t open until Monday or when the shops were shut between Christmas and New Year (were they really or was it a ruse?) and you can pretty much buy anything from anywhere at any time of the day or night!
Nowadays I still have lists in notebooks, on my blackboard wall, on my phone and also copious (and tedious) instructions/demands/lists in the shape of texts from the children.
I write things down because I like lists OK, not because I’m forgetful!