Thursday, 20 March 2008

Cleaning (or not)


I meant to blog about this at the weekend, when it appeared, but then I was too busy doing other things - and not one of them was cleaning. According to The Times, cleaning has apparently become synonymous with social status - in which case I am even more of a social pariah than I thought. Apparently the really smart have 3 or 4 cleaning teams, not just one, or a single solitary cleaner - and stand over them to make sure they do it properly. In which case, I can only think they don't have enough to do. If you employ someone to do a job, surely you ought to be able to leave them to get in with it. If you need to stand over someone checking, why not do it yourself?


Only once in my life have I been flush enough to employ a cleaner, and I was so incredibly grateful that someone else was doing all the things I loathed I happily left her to it. Once she apologised for not hoovering the underside of the rugs, which flabberghasted me as it had never ever occurred to me to hoover the other side of the rug - the bit of floor it was on, yes, but its underneath, never. So you can see my standards are low.


In the few bits of free time I get, when I sit down, I do not think - ah, now it is time to wield the hoover! Or better still, iron! No, I read. An aunt of mine said she only ever dusted when people came - after a time, the dust reached its own level and didn't get any worse. And there is a certain aesthetic attraction to really spectacular cobwebs and dust. This morning I was looking for my copy of Diary of a Provincial Lady and the top shelf of its bookcase, had reached marvellously gothic levels of cobwebby tawdriness. (It houses biographies, which tend to be things we read once and then store).


Over the summer we acquire some wonderfully long and floaty cobwebs, which is one advantage I suppose to very high ceilings. Were anyone to quibble, I should tell them that they are organic flycatchers.


And yet, and yet.... on the rare occasions I clean I like it when it is done. I like the temporary sense of orderliness, of it all being, for once, sorted out. Then I go back to my book, and read on, ignoring the dog hair floating from the moulting labrador, the mud left by the son's enormous trainers, the tilth of junk mail, daughter-produced crud and strange alien things that no one will admit to owning....

11 comments:

Gillian said...

By and large, my carpets could always do with a vacuum, but other than that, the place isn't too bad. Cowbebs give me the creeps, so I don't have any of those, in spite of the high ceilings here. In fact I just got a duster on a long pole to deal with the more distant corners.

this last month I've been sporadically dusting my display of toy horses, which are on shelves high enough to need a set of steps to reach them properly. Hence, they don't get dusted that often, and some horses had enough dust on them to have turned roan.

I like reading the Diary of a Provincial Lady too.

Gillian said...

When I said cowbebs, I'm meant cobwebs, of course.

*giggles at typo*

Cati said...

If I ever employed a cleaner, I'd have to do the cleaning before they arrived, such is the state of Chez Cati. In any case, money spent on paying cleaners is money that could be better spent on books...

haffyfan said...

Lifes too short for cleaning I say!
(my mum who is ultra clean dispairs...her house is like a show home while mine has a more lived in feel I think)

However when needs must, inviting guests around is the best motivation to get started I find.

Slightly off topic but why does my mainly tan dog only shed white hairs (and by the bucketload all year)?

Gillian said...

Ah, that's one of the mysteries of pets. How they can always manage to shed hairs that contrast with your clothes/carpets/furniture, no matter what the colours are.

Jane said...

Haffy - And also how the hairs get to places where the pets are not, like your food.

Gillian - I like the idea of cowbebs. Some of my cobwebs are big enough I think to support a small herd now.

Cati - how very true. If my money had a soul, it would say that it would prefer to be spent on books.

haffyfan said...

Isn't there an old wives tale where you need to grab a handful of cobwebs to stem bleeding and promote healing in a wound??????

Juxtabook said...

Isn't it is weird how if you mop a hard floor then you get footprints making the path from door to door the muckiest bit. But if you leave the floor for weeks then the path between the doors is the cleanest bit as feet wear the dirt off.

mutterings and meanderings said...

I am not a great cleaner either - nor do I iron, I shake.

winnie said...

Cobwebs are good! I call them organic fly control, should anybody be so crass as to comment on my collection.
Old-fashioned stablemen would (so I read somewhere) be fined if they knocked down the cobwebs in the stables, and yes HF, you can use cobwebs to put on a wound. I think they have something in them that either helps to stop bleeding or some sort of antibiotic. I am a bit hazy on that one though.
I have my mother coming to stay in a couple of weeks but I shan't bother to do any special cleaning. As long as the bathroom & the kitchen are clean, I shan't mind the rest of the mess & muck, and neither will she.
Down with housework!

Jane said...

Juxtabook - you are absolutely right. I'd never noticed that before.

M&M - I absolutely hate ironing too. One blessing of having my middle class icon, my Aga, is that it irons things. Sort of. And unless it's summer, when it's turned off.

Winnie - yes, cobwebs are good, and I'd heard that cobwebs are good if you can't find a plaster. I think there's an enzyme in them which stops bleeding. Or something. So as well as fly catchers, I also have first aid kits liberally waving from the ceiling.