I was in some kind of giant warehouse/factory.

No one ever went through the door I came and went by – it seemed that that one was for me only. Yet as previously noted, I didn’t seem to be the only one in the building or whatever it was. I could hear things going on in the distance but my stacks of boxes got in the way of being able to see anything.

All this time I’d been working in a cubicle of my own making. Wouldn’t it be great to have more people to work with, but then again who would want to do this sort of work?

I wrote “HI !!!!!” on a piece of paper, made it into a dart and threw it. It worked, that is the dart disappeared somewhere over the boxes where I couldn’t see it. So that was that.

Unpacking the third box that morning, I noticed an odd bit of paper, not part of any set. ‘Might as well see if it belongs somewhere’, I thought.

The outside was blank. On the inside was the word HI.

Hmmmmm…           .


I left the TV off. It just didn’t seem to matter so much now.

After a while I found an old copy of Poor Richard’s Almanack (which I had known was in there somewhere though I expected it would take far longer to find)  and decided that what I was best at was persistence. Everywhere I could see examples of starting on something, dropping it, starting something else, dropping that, moving to another task, et cetera and so on. Wasn’t that what persistence was – never exactly giving up?

Long ago I read a meditation by someone wise. It had about fourteen lines (not rhyming or scanning) and began

To us it is given                                                                                                                                         At no stage ever to rest

and later on had stuff about going on , climbing maybe, from life unto life. Thanks to call centre technology there’s always a call waiting – their work is never done, they could work continuously if they chose, without even toilet breaks.

But we were meant to sleep at night, weren’t we? Some people don’t even do that.

And the bit that does astral travel or whatever? Now there’s a part of us that never even stops work. Is that what the wise one was talking about?

Even plant growth isn’t continuous. Plants do a growth spurt, pause to gather strength, then do the next one. What’s that if it isn’t persistence ? They just grow where they’re put (or die if they can’t) and have no choice about it. Does that make them completely subconscious?

But I’m nature’s greatest miracle. With the power and responsibility of choice. I never get to rest from that.

I looked at all the junk I hadn’t sorted yet.

Was it really all mine? And if so, wouldn’t it have taken so many lifetimes to amass all that? And if so, mightn’t I get more than one to get it all sorted out ?

I decided to commemorate where I was at with a poem.

Never desist, always insist.                                                                                                                  Even if dissed, always persist.                                                                                                              Of what the journey may consist                                                                                                        How trickily the road may twist                                                                                                          Or circumstances may resist                                                                                                                Or what gets missed, hidden in mist                                                                                                  Finding these out may make you pissed                                                                                            But simply add them to your list                                                                                                        And feed them to your mill as grist.                                                                                                    However endless my existence                                                                                                            Moments alone can eat the distance.




Now that’s better ! I can hear the creaking of old ideas waiting to be put into action.

The decision was too great to be taken on my own. What should I do ?

Desperately I called out ‘Help ! MASTERMIND !!!!!!!!’

Instantly he was there, in a flash of purple cape and proprietary logo.

‘One moment,’ he said. I’ll just put this ship and my girlfriend to one side and I’ll be right with you.’

A quick brush of his hair and he was ready. ‘Now what’s the trouble?’ he asked.

‘ I have to decide whether to keep tidying or assemble this kitset,’ I explained.

‘Sit down while I tell you my story,’ he suggested. So I did.

‘For what you’re trying to do you need a Plan Of Action, Real Keenness and Never Take No For An Answer. I don’t envy your task but I know how you feel. In the old days I was a man of action – all I had to do was fly around looking for a train to catch or a ship to pick up. Anything but tidy my own junkroom. But lately I’ve become more reflective – I think it’s this new costume.’

‘So what do you suggest?’

‘Keep the mane thing the mane thing,’ he said, rechecking his hair in a pocket mirror. ‘Plan your time, so much for shifting boxes, some left over for assembling that kitset. It might turn out to be a vacuum cleaner or something like that. And if someone comes and tells you what a mess you’re making or your kitset’s a waste of time, tell them you love them so much for wanting to be so kind to you. That should get rid of them.’

In a flash of decisive purple, he was gone.


The hare was always boasting about being the fastest runner around, especially when it came to running uphill. The other animals grew tired of this and finally persuaded the tortoise to challenge the hare to a running race.

This was not because they believed the tortoise could win the race by running faster than the hare, as the tortoise’s running speed had been tested and found to be the same as its crawling speed.

The tortoise was chosen for three reasons .

The hare could not easily refuse to race without lacking all future credibility.

There was the best chance that the hare would underestimate the tortoise’s capability.

If the hare did win, the tortoise had the thickest skin and would be the best at withstanding criticism and ridicule.

Without really thinking about it, the hare accepted.

The day of the race arrived and all the animals gathered at the starting point, which happened to be at the top of a steep cliff. The tortoise said nothing.

‘Where’s the course?’ asked the hare.

The other animals pointed down over the cliff to where a river happened to be meandering past at the bottom. ‘First to reach the river wins,’ they explained.

The hare began to realize what kind of game was being played.

Next moment the animals shouted : ‘Take your marks ; get set ; GO !!!’

Then they quickly pushed the tortoise off the cliff edge before it could reconsider.

The tortoise took off at a tremendous speed, bouncing off rocks and vegetation from which its hard shell protected it well along with contributing momentum.

The hare paused for a moment before dashing off along the clifftop looking for an easier downhill run. The race rules had failed to specify the precise route to take.

The tortoise and the hare reached the river at exactly the same time, although not the same part of the river. They didn’t know which of them had won – nor did any of the other animals.

MORAL #1 : Leveling the playing field might mean something else.

MORAL #2 :  A happy ending is usually definite and serves someone right. Let’s see if we can manage without needing that 🙂



Between itching, being careful not to scratch, applying toothpaste and drinking only tea I brought with me I was gradually clearing more space. I was creating some of those great prizes, piles of empty containers which I wouldn’t be using again and which could be burned to heat the home, which though not as near as the room itself was still more homelike than this cluttered room. Though the room was now so familiar as to start seeming like another home.

On looking in a particular box I found pieces of something. Not separate things but bits which had different shapes but looked similar. Was it a sort of puzzle?

It didn’t take much rummaging to find a couple that fitted together. However, they could be fitted together in more than one way. It was the same for the next few pieces I tried.

I noticed the corner of a plastic bag partway down among the pieces and pulled it out carefuly , shuffling the pieces but not spilling them. The likeliest reason for that bag being among the pieces was that they had once been in it . I had opened it and tipped them out to start building whatever it was. Could there be an instruction sheet for assembly?

There was. A small separate bit of paper , blurry under the dust on the bag but when I brought it out reading COULD BE AN IDEA     (!!!!!!!!!)…

No wonder I had failed to assemble that kitset the first time. I had done the next best thing – kept the bits together in a hasty kind of way until I had the time to do it properly.

Had that time arrived at last? Or should I keep on tidying – stick to what I’d started doing and finish that before starting something new and risking my precious tidied space?

I thought of that poem by Robert Frost, about the two roads in the yellow wood. Which was my road less traveled by, that would make all the difference?

This would need some serious thinking about.

I switched the TV off.



After that nice cup of dragon tea I felt refreshed and carried on unstacking, sorting and restacking.

A few days later (I lost track of time) I could easily get through the door when I entered or left. The folded boxes stuck inside each other, the signs of actual rubbish I wouldn’t be using any more, were more now and making up their own stack on one side. On the other side was the stack with contents that looked as if they still might be useful. Either that or they looked so unrecyclable I hoped they would prove reusable.

I had never worked so much in this kind of space before, and it was starting to affect me. A new kind of skin rash appeared, mainly around my arms and other working parts. If I just ignored it and carried on working the way I’d been used to doing before, the rash quickly swelled into clusters of threatening lumps. So instead I worked in smaller shifts, kept my skin more covered, took care to notice the early feeling of a new spot erupting and treated any spots I found with toothpaste, which seemed to work.

Between work spells I mentioned the situation to healers and others. While some treatments seemed to bring some relief, I went on living with the unusual feeling that anytime I wanted a spectacular allergic reaction (as if I ever would) I could produce one by working hard and carelessly for only a few minutes.

Maybe there was something in that dragon tea I hadn’t expected. Or was it all the dust in the room?


The next thing to do was to find a box with some space in it. There’s always some leftover space in a mess, that’s why it’s a mess. Or did I say that before?  If so, throw out one of those comments and people won’t have to read so much !

Hours later I had taken down ten boxes, emptied three of them, stuffed the empty three inside each other to save space, carefully squashed most of the contents into the other seven while leaving a small pile of sorry-looking junk by itself on the floor. There was still the same amount of floor space though, as the boxes were mostly stacked about six high – just enough room to get out the door. WHICH I WAS ABOUT TO DO.

Suddenly I heard faint sounds. From various directions I could just make out the buzz of decisions, the hum of affirmations, the crash of mental diets and the clicking of press release beetles. With a rush of empathy I realised I wasn’t alone in the building.

Cautiously I took a deep breath in case there wasn’t enough air for it  and called out ‘Who’s there ?’

The tiny dragon that had just appeared, wearing a smirk much bigger than itself, suddenly thought better of it, whipped out a notepad from its belt pouch and started taking notes.


Immediately the dragon saw me, it pounced on me and ate me up.!!

…if only it were that easy. My excuse for not doing my homework wouldn’t be “The dog ate it ,sir!” but “Sorry miss, a dragon killed and ate me so I couldn’t get it done”. The teacher would never believe it. They’re just too experienced.

Also strange was how a dragon could fit in the leftover space which seemed so small to start with. Yes I know, it was probably huge, at least much bigger than I am but I forgot to specify. Although some people are scared of things much smaller than they are. So in order not to be scared I said “Boo!”

Dragons don’t tend to have mobile lips for speaking, perhaps because they’ve found over the epochs that it’s easiest to communicate by direct telepathy. So you always get the message but the understanding depends on your knowledge of each other’s culture.

The dragon’said’ “Not this again, people trying to scare me. It’s so… booring.” Like that joke, I supposed, at which it couldn’t even raise the slightest smile.

“You don’t scare me”, I said, changing the subject and bluffing a bit, “anything like the thought of having to tidy up all this mess in here. Are you going to try to stop me or mess with my tidying?”

“You’ve got so much mess there I doubt you’ll ever tidy it,” it replied. So I reached up and lifted down a box of junk, carefully putting it against the door as that was the only space available. Once I found some partly empty boxes I was going to fill them more tidily, empty some other boxes and flatten them. Nothing is ever quite full if it isn’t tidy. So I’d have the doorway clear in time for morning tea.

There was a hiss, and the dragon suddenly turned into a cup of tea. Everything has its use if you look at it the right way, I thought.


This time I’m really inside (I think…) Anyway it was hard to get through the door. Next step is to clear the doorway a bit. So I can get out with the treasure I’m going to find. Somehow I just assumed it’s all mine.

I mean, who else would want anything to do with a mess like this? Some of the stuff looks kind of familiar under its layer of dust and other junk. Some might be sharp and dangerous, but they’re all only things aren’t they. No one else would be here. No one’s going to mind if I tidy things up a bit. If someone comes and says “Hey, what are you doing with my stuff?” I could say “Well I thought you wouldn’t mind if I tidied it up a bit”. Or it might not be their stuff at all, they just might be trying something on.

Ok. I’m going to assume its my junk for the time being. Could it be arranged any more tidily? Well yes, so I bend over to pick up a box and I hear a sudden sound. I look up and see a SCARY DRAGON !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


It’s a tight fit getting through the door this time. Which means it’s more likely to be a real door. There seems to be a lot of junk piled behind it.

When Aladdin went into the house of treasure for the (evil) old magician, the way in was down. After that it levelled out  and turned into a treasure cave which was an architectural wonder, with everything beautifully laid out and the most importand bit at the far end.

Remembering garden sheds I’ve known, they could be packed really full, perhaps packed isn’t really the word when you throw things inside and push the door shut on it all. On the other hand, if the door opens inwards you could carefully stack stuff to leave just enough room to open partway and squeeze in. Unless the careful stack falls over against the door…?

What if I’ve been in here before and just didn’t do a particularly tidy sorting and stacking job because I was ‘going to do it later’????