So once again the clear out process starts. Another move may be in the offing.

Slowly history is cleansed. Old photographs. Slides of 20+ years of birding travel.

Books to charity shops. LPs sold. Clothes to recycling. Camera gear offloaded. We are learning the ropes at the local recycling plant. A broken printer. A hair dryer that will never blow again. Boxes of birding and wildlife magazines going back to the early 90s – nobody wants them. Everything is online now. What is physically available is redundant.

What surprised me most was going through box after box of slides. I had over 40 of Galapagos alone. 36 to a roll. No chimping. No histograms. And 95% properly exposed. I was a better and slower photographer then. I really must try to scan them. What was also surprising was my ability to recall almost every image taken. I struggle to remember what I ate for breakfast but I remember shots taken in Australia in 1998. I suspect that is not a good sign.

Some things fall into the ‘what to do with it’ category. Old ornaments my parents hung on the wall. Tasteful in 1960 but now suitable only for a glimpse back in social history. Akin to Hilda’s muriels. Dad’s pewter retirement tankards: To Jim from the Lads. In 50 years time someone on Flog It (probably the same presenters) will cradle the finest tankard in his or her hands and speculate on Jim. Who was he? Who were the Lads? Engineering students. Where was he working? A wonderful artifact, they will opine. And you found it in a car boot sale! Except we won’t have cars then. Well I’d like to put it in to auction with an estimate of £4-5,000 and a reserve of £80. Just in case. To protect it. But very collectable. It will fail to make reserve just like everything else we have auctioned.

I sold two framed prints for £35. Less lot fee and commission. I was convinced I had paid £90 for them. Ah well. Then I found the receipt. I paid £245 for the pair. But they are gone and I wish the new owner well.

The purpose of all this clearing out is twofold. If we return to Hong Kong it will inevitably be to a smaller apartment. At some point if I don’t do it now it will fall to the memsahib to do the work. Simplify, declutter now. Much better. And cathartic. Don’t wait for the probate inventory. If it seems a little like throwing away your past I take comfort from the fact that what had lain untouched for over 15 years triggered instant recall in my memory. Maybe the software of the mind is all I need and the hardware can crash and go.

And with that cheery thought, I shall return to reading about the Thucydides trap.