Monday 9 May 2016

Please Let Me Wash Up

I'm not the biggest fan of domesticity. You wouldn’t need to dip far into my blog to know that. At best the washing, the emptying and re-filling of the ironing basket, the tidying - AKA the 'pile' of yesterday's activity moved to the bottom step to create a hazard to be walked around - the cleaning, the cooker cleaning (only the top, obviously) the food shopping (granted, only ten minutes on the internet these days but oh! the putting away),  the bill paying, the cooking (scrap that one, I find cooking quite therapeutic), the weekly bedding changing (just kidding - annual) are all tasks to be got behind me so that I can get down to the day job. 

And after that's ticked off, well, then I get to write.

At worst, domesticity makes me grumpy. 

I'm not ridiculously house-proud. Sure, I like a general air of tidiness and probably more accurately, a sense of order. I despise having to wade through disorder to search for something when if-it-had-been-put-in-its-proper-place, you hear me, don't you? And I strive for a level of cleanliness to prevent disease. But I'm not trying to prove anything. Show-home perfection is not in my make-up. Until that is, I've spent all day polishing my house and domesticity crown. Then, the remnants of the snack on the scrubbed work surface, the post trail right next to the recycling box, the shoe tree re-planted in front of the cupboard in which shoes rightfully belong, then I could happily kick them, and also the offender, into the next village.

I did say domesticity made me grumpy. 

It's the futility really. It's the digging a hole and filling it in again each and every week. It's the time sap with nothing lasting to show for it. It's the monotony, I suppose. 

Really, wouldn't we all prefer to be doing something else?


No? Checks mirror. Yes, it was me: I wrote that. Let me explain. I have just had an operation on my stomach. I've lost an organ or two, nothing vital, except their absence means that for six long weeks I'm not allowed to lift, reach, open, close, teach, run, jump, shop, carry, push a trolley, iron, fill a kettle, cycle, pour a kettle, lift a pan, move furniture (three months for that one, apparently) and so the list goes on.

It's not so bad, I thought, as I stared wide-eyed at the nurse reciting the list. I shall read.

Let's start with this little lot.
And I could reach the bottom of the to-do list, write some long overdue short stories, prepare well for the launch of Glass Houses, organise my sister's big birthday which ends in a zero, test my daughters on their revision, book their appointments before the third time of asking, start blogging regularly again, catch up on editing and everything else I've abandoned over the last year while I've been book writing and loading the washing machine. 

Phew! Six weeks of all that and you know what, I might actually have a handle on things again.
Ticking off the To-Do list in the sun.
Two weeks in and yes, I am doing all these things. I'm feeling more in control and there's great satisfaction in reaching the end of my, admittedly shortened, to-do list. And yet, guess what's irking me even more than the sun shining but my bike standing forlorn in the kitchen (it's a long, leaking shed story), my depressingly clean trainers in the cupboard (of course), my drawer bursting with pre-operation laundered kit? What irks me more (ok, perhaps not more, but it's significant and better for the story)? 

The washing. The ironing and please God, give me the strength to put the sewing machine back in the cupboard.

You know, I think that when they whisked away some of the insides of my stomach, they took a slice of sense as well. Please remind me of this when I am cursing the many and varied barriers to writing. Please remind me that there is a semblance of satisfaction in being on top of domesticity, that I don't like asking my family to do seemingly simple tasks when they have imminent exams and hectic jobs, that I hate to take my busy friends up on offers to help when I'm the one who has more time. Normality. I think it's normality I crave. 

Feel free to direct me here when I have my normality back.


  1. Gorgeous slant on domesticity as ever! Your writing always makes me laugh/smile and has spurred me on to go and wipe the oven door! like you say the whole oven doesn't need a clean for another year and bedding i did that before the guests arrived for christmas........xx

  2. Hehe! That's the spirit! Thank you, that made me smile, too :)

  3. I've never heard it said of anyone at their funeral "She kept a spotless house"
    Better to be remembered for the fun times and adventures you shared with people and the person you were than the house you kept immaculate, surely...

  4. Ain't that the truth, Hazel! Thanks for reading. How are you?

  5. You've made me feel guilty about the mess I'm closing my eyes to while I do something I much prefer. Now I'll have to get up and change...not the bed, god forbid I would go that far... into the cleaning lady again. Wouldn't mind but the pay's rubbish.

  6. Hehe, Carole. And no, don't do that. The pay IS rubbish and the sun is shining. You can rest assured as soon as I am able to do all the chores again, I won't yearn to do them one tiny bit... Thanks for reading!

  7. I think we always miss the things we can't do, even housework. I promise NOT to show you this post when you're on your feet again :-)

  8. I think you're right, Annalisa! Meanwhile, I'm pretty much back to everything already and yes, feels like I've never been away... ;)


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