We've been clearing off some shelves this morning, trying to de-clutter. It's always a major task, and the decisions that have to be made boil down to whether to keep this particular old letter, or card, or piece of paper with something 'important' on it. In spite of that I've nearly filled the recycling bin, so we've obviously made some progress. I want to move my stamp collection on: it's a very eclectic collection, with no great focus, though there are quite a few NZ stamp booklets, and some stamps in the UPU anniversary amongst the items. Some of the material is worth a bit; a great deal is worth next to nothing, except for someone who wants to start from scratch.
In the middle of the box that was filled with old notes about ideas for writing, I came across an exercise book (it had started life belonging to one of my daughter's when she was at school, and I'd taken it over) - on the first page there are a bunch of IDEAS from the 13th July, 1993. These have obviously been contributed by my children in some sort of a brainstorming session, and they're worth repeating here.
D: A water-detector for Ethiopia.
B: A peeler with a curve in it to peel the bends in vegetables.
D: A button on glasses to turn them into sunglasses.
L: You can go to bed when you want but you must get up at seven am.
D: A metal door on the bedroom to keep you in, once you're in. (He was ten at the time, and difficult to keep in bed at night.)
D: A hand on the clock that bangs on your bed to wake you up.
D: A toilet roll holder that gives you a choice of how many sheets to have at any time.
Then there are two more ideas from the 20th of July not attributed to any of the children:
A time to show how many more hours you've got on the gas heaters.
A strip on frozen food packets to indicate when they're no longer any good to use.
It's interesting that more than one of these ideas has actually been worked on by other people over the years - there are glasses that change colour when the sun is bright; some public toilets obviously have a system to produce only so many sheets at a time (not quite the same idea, but close); all food these days has a use-by date on it. And I suspect the idea of a water-detector in Ethiopia has already been created. In fact, I seem to remember reading about something similar a few years back.