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a blog by Chris Barrow

Spick and span

Neat, clean and well looked after

It is thought that the phrase originates from the 1500's, when newly built sailing ships shone with nails that had not yet been tarnished (a spick or spike) and constructed from newly felled wood (spann-nyre was an Old Norse word for a fresh chip of wood). A new ship was described by the Dutch of the time as spiksplinternieuw.

On 15th November 1665, Samuel Pepys recorded in his famous diary:

"My Lady Batten walking through the dirty lane with new spicke and span white shoes."

Those who follow my Facebook personal profile will know that, over the last 2 weeks, The Barrow Bunker has undergone a transformation, from an accumulation of 9 years of flotsam and jetsam (there's another phrase from the nautical past) to a completely spick and span new workplace.

After two consecutive weekends of work, numerous trips to the local council recycling and refuse centre and after hiring a unit at a nearby Storage World - I have a new Bunker with which I am well pleased.

The psychological benefits, even in the last 5 days, have been huge - it has been like a new lease of professional life.

I have more to do - there's a new sofa bed arriving from John Lewis tomorrow (we used to have a futon down here and it did sometimes become an extra guest bedroom - goodness knows when that will be needed again but in the meantime it will give me a chillax area for reading).

I also have three heavily populated bookshelves that need a good clean out - that's to come this weekend.

In these groundhog days it has been a breath of fresh air to revitalise my workspace and - guess what - I feel as if I've been better organised and better at my job this week.

So whether it's at home or at the practice - you might want to consider the benefits to you and your team of Operation Spick and Span.

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