Sunday, November 30, 2008




When Cleaning Comes Home....




I have spent many years in an independent state of living - seemingly endlessly surrounded by small children, their friends, teenagers and friends in need of cheesy biscuits, chocolate and wine ...and although I knew I was not the best housekeeper in the world I believed my home was clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy (another Nell Docherty wisdom). Evidence however would suggest that living in a home with carpets covered equally in glitter puddles, red wine stains and dried spaghetti hoops was probably not the most hygienic environment to be growing up in - buy hey we always made great pictures, costumes for Halloweens, had great parties and my girls have VERY robust constitutions. My husband (last seen in the engine room of said Titanic desperately trying to get the engine started again as the waves rushing in from the big hole in the bottom of the boat washed over them) always said his earliest memories of visiting me in my home when we first met were indelibly marked with the interesting mixed smell of cats, tobacco and vanilla. Vanilla of course is a magic scent that makes people feel loved and I was addicted to it back in those days...as I was nicotine. Glad to have shaken the one and hoping to resurrect the other.


Any how - to cut a long story short - my husband over this last decade has taught me the pleasures of order and cleanliness - well he has taught me that sometimes guddle can make a person tetchy and that lemon is a good scent as is bleach sometimes. His need for order has also been a pain in the arce though - when the need to hoover and clean toilets overtakes the need to invest time in a hug, that extra special half hour in bed on a Sunday morning or in just plain relaxing - well - then I'd go back to Nell's way anytime.


So - Sunday - gets up goes for magic winter walk with my friend and her dog (also my friend) - we marvel at the dinosaurs on the beach and decide we both need to do something about our long vision eyesightand get a book on birds before we die, we then go to Asda's together (girlie stuff to do!). On my return my 14 yr old teenage daughter and surrogate 15 yr old daughter (aka Sorcha's best friend Amy) start 'cooking breakfast' - that means covering every surface with everything, making puddles everywhere of any sort of sticky substance possible, burning things and then serving it all up triumphantly on a greasy plate...with love - and delicious it was. Chaos remains behind them as they disappear to do more interesting things like go back to sleep or giggle about something.

So - I have today scrubbed and hoovered and polished and dusted and washed and ordered and folded and put away - and its 7 o'clock now and I have just finished and I am now knackered. But I am also proud of our order in this stupid selfish emotional chaos caused by my so organised and tidy husband - and equally proud of the piles of things that shout 'home where love is' like the small mountain of unnecessary cosmetic items on the window sill of the hall (no reason!) and the interesting pile of shoes sitting beside the shoe organiser and not it it...the mad clutter of important things we must not lose on the fridge and sorcha's postcard from the drama department hailing her as all mighty in the class wobbing on the front of the cupboard door! My house is nice, sure it is, but not necessary - it's Knots Landing situation is nice - but it's not necessary - what is necessary is it smells of vanilla and cats and loving guddle and that will come with us wherever we go.

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