Wednesday 23 June 2010

More Keeping House

And another thing, how often do you think one should wash one's net curtains? I do have several, I confess. They are not so much to peep from behind to see what is going on in the world of the neighbours. They are more to stop the neighbours from seeing what is going on in my world. One pair is internal and covers a glass door between my little guest room and the room in which I used to work. Finally, there are some covering a window on a half landing. These serve as a sun-shield, otherwise my little house would be a little oven before you can say over the horizon. Governed as I am by the mores of another generation, another way of being in the world, I do feel the need, eventually the guilty urgency, to take the damned things down and wash them. You will of course, have gathered that, physically, I am not the most flexible acrobat in the circus. Picture it: I am up a ladder, two steps are all I can risk, trying, with arthritic fingers, to extract some miniature hooks from the tentacles determined to grab on to them. The door bell rings. What to do. Clamber down from the ladder, replace my shoes and totter to the door? I could pretend I haven't heard - not unreasonable, my hearing is deteriorating as we speak. (When the Guru rings with his office voice I have either to behave as if I have heard and end up making a dinner he has rung to cancel or bellow at him to speak up. A conflict erupts between office decorum and old lady reality.) Or I could prepare an abject apology for taking so long to answer. You've guessed; he/she who was there is no longer there, anyway. Take off my shoes, again, clamber back up the ladder, feel for the little tentacles, again, and so on and so on. Do you remember the Gerard Hoffnung story of the builder and the bricks going up and down in the hod? Well, you are well on the way to visualising my grubby- curtain dilemma. Last time, I prevailed upon the window cleaner to get them down for me, since he was up there, anyway, and definitely more flexible than I. I did have to put them back, myself, but what the H..., who ever said getting older, in housework terms, would be easy?

Far, far more serious: a tissue infiltrated the washing machine. The Wizard of Cyberspace has allies, his trainees, the laundry fairies. They eat socks, too. But you know all this. You will be wondering why I didn't check all pockets for whatever. I swear I did. This tissue got in disguised as a handkerchief. Are there any fellow sufferers out there? Tissues in the washing machine are like blood, milk and cat litter: they get everywhere when spilled. I shook, I swept, I took the cat-fur remover to everything and then I sat down in a darkened room until I felt better. It's all very well, but the Guru is supposed to look the part when he's at work so bits of unidentifiable white on his professional apparel are totally unacceptable. What's more, one of the duties of the no longer young is to look pristine: eccentric is fine, scruffy is out. So please, Wizard, would you be so good as to ask your apprentices in the laundry to move their plague of white, clingy bits to the machine of my worst enemy?

I have just realised that we are very near my Mother's birthday. This may well explain my rush of housewifery. She has been in mind. She was a very good keeper of her house, and mine, come to that. When I was at University in London she would come up to see me with, I jest not, some rubber gloves and a couple of dusters - oh, and a pinny. The most embarrassing aspect of this was subjecting my house-mates to the sight of everything drying over the shower rail in the communal bathroom after she had done her worst/best with them. And yes, she did get me to take the curtains down and held the ladder while I did so. Back to work; it's never done.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

May I suggest getting rid of the net curtains and having subdued green strobe lighting to confuse the nosy neighbours?!
The tissue in the wm is a common predicament and I have cursed many a time. Not much you can do about it except ban tissues if you dare.

On another note- but tangential, talking of neighbours - how do you deal, Liz, with the barbecuing kind? I would be interested in your views. As I write this with my patio doors open on a glorious summer evening with just a hint of breeze I fear I do not feel kndly towards the wafting smells -especially as I am feeling very hungry!Any ideas?