'The devil's in the detail.' I think this expression may have originated in legalese and small-print checking. I don't know. I don't do detail very well.
'Retail is detail', says Liz's company, aware that most shops in most places most of the time will do most things right. So if you have a wonky door, a cold trading area or a rude assistant that detail will stand out - it will give you a disadvantage. She is busy remerchandising our house for sale at the moment (a board has now gone up outside) so I am trying to notice details.
But I don't. I have never enjoyed the detail of, for instance, finances which for me aren't black and white but more a sort of off-maroon shade. I am trying really hard to tidy up as I go along so the house can look ready for visitors at 20 minutes notice. Then what? Smell of fresh ground coffee and the bread-maker on perhaps? A little light cafe jazz of St Germain or Zero 7 playing in the background? A visitors book open at a page that says 'Thanks for a lovely night see you soon - luv David, Victoria, Brooklyn, Romeo and Cruz?' Something visually amusing in the room with the slightly peeling paint?
But it must be working. I am spotting things. Walking home from the church today I became transfixed by a blue (and therefore cheese and onion) Walker's crisp packet moving at the bidding of the breeze through Kennedy Square. It described graceful arcs like the dot bouncing along the bottom-of-screen lyrics in an old musical. Reminded me of the out of place 'They say there's a tree in the forest,' song in the middle of the film 'The Great Race' which uses that technique. (Not seen it? Do so. Now. Has the world's greatest ever custard pie fight in it too.)
See what happened. The detail took me captive and whisked me off. How can I keep my study tidy when things contain so many alluring side-roads up which to nose. Everything I tidy turns to something else before I've got it there.