Sunday, January 08, 2006

Packing Paradise

I love to pack.

I've inherited that love from my father. We're obsessive packers. We are blessed (or cursed?) with the rare gift to see the space to be packed, and the stuff that needs packing into that space, in terms of three-dimensional tessellating shapes....

We SEE how it fits.

I once re-packed a freind's suitcase that wouldn't close and two carrier bags into one closed, rectangularly suitcase-shaped, perfectly packed suitcase. Bliss. My father has been known to draw a scale diagram of how best to pack the roof rack.

But then he was, at the height of his powers, able to pack four people, an eight-man frame tent, a 12 foot off-shore inflatable, a four hp outboard engine, a camp kitchen the size of a large travelling trunk and all assorted food, clothes and camping paraphenalia into one estate car and roof rack. At that stage he was packing tins of curry into the spaces around the car's engine. I can only aspire to such genius.

He once packed my moth-eaten riding helmet purely because he had a riding-helmet-shaped hole in the boot space. We had no intention of going horse riding. Towards the later stages of packing, he'd be apt to turn around, the light of cramming ferver in his eyes and demand something, "about so big by so big with a bend there and a bump there that you don't mind getting squashed." I had a gift for finding the objects to satisfy his packing requirements.

Although we did once go a whole holiday without a j-cloth because I couldn't remember where I'd packed it. Inside the kitchen roll middle, of course. We only found it when we got home.

Then there's the unfortunate tendency to find sachets of boil-in-the-bag-rice in your footwear, small portions of salt in your socks, and a puncture repair kit in the kettle.

Tip: Find it before you boil it.

Ten years after I last went on holiday with my parents, I still find myself classifying clothes as crushable, stuffable or crammable.

Imagine my delight, therefore, when one of the Christmas presents Husband bought me turned out to be a selection of Eagle Creek packing cubes from Rohan. Oh, bliss. I get a little over-excited when I consider the quarter cube for underwear, the half cube for tops and t-shirts, and the whole cube for larger items. Oh my.

Tomorrow night I'm doing one of my overnighters in Durham for the MA. In just a little while I need to go and pack my overnight bag. The prospect gives me a little thrill of illicit pleasure. Rolling the undies, stuffing the stuffables, finding the stuff that fits the space.

If I'm careful, there'll probably be room for the riding helmet, too.


At 10:37 pm, Blogger Biddy said...

I supposedly inherited the stevedore gene from my Dad and my Granddad. Sadly I also inherited the 'inability to decide what I need for a weekend' gene from my mother. So it doesn't matter how well I pack I will always have too much ;)

At 7:29 am, Anonymous Sadhbh said...

Anna - a pity you live so far away! I did NOT inherit the packing gene, despite travelling a lot in my short life. But talk about fitting junk in an apartment/house and I'm your girl

Keep up the good work


At 8:51 pm, Blogger Julie said...

I remember that blissful time you helped me pack...I don't think my clothes have ever been so wrinkle-free.

Wish I had you around to pack all the time.

I'm still giggling about tins of curry around the car engine...


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