Fortuitously, DH had arranged to visit his mother this weekend, so the chance to get on unimpeded was too good to miss. Dear as he is, it's so much easier doing things like spring-cleaning when he isn't around. I can stop for breaks and meals when convenient, rather than at usual times, and can shift all his clutter into one big pile in his office or workshop, rather than have him yelping "Don't move that, I'm just about to deal with it." I've heard that one before..... So once I’d waved him goodbye it was out with the duster and the other implements of domestic torture and into the fray.
I started downstairs and that was reasonably straightforward. Granted, there was my knitting stuff to subdue and sort before I could find the settee, but after that it all went like clockwork. The dust was duly disturbed and went off in a huff, the Dyson lurched even nearer to total exhaustion, but at least I can see the surface of the furniture again and we now have a sitting-room where we can actually sit, a dining-table with room for the dishes and a kitchen which positively begs to be cooked in.
Buoyed up by my initial success, I tackled upstairs – or at least the state of chaos known as my study. I knew there was a carpet in there somewhere and I was determined to find it or die in the attempt. Tying a string to the door handle and holding tightly to the other end, I advanced into the jungle surrounding my desk. It was touch and go for a while, but eventually, after a fierce struggle, I emerged triumphant.
For the first time in aeons I can open the bottom drawer of my filing-cabinet without having to shift the tottering piles of books and papers which normally cover the floor in front of it. It’s not that I’m an untidy worker, really I’m not. It’s just that work is so much more fun than filing: a recipe for chaos if ever I heard one. Still, for this brief moment in time, the books have all been shelved and the papers are nestling comfortably in their correct files.
Of course this pristine state of affairs won’t last, but at present I’m so smug it’s quite understandable. I’ve reminded myself what colour the carpet is and can kid myself yet again that at last I’m getting organised.
But it was a slow process getting there. The trouble is that this wasn’t like tidying the kitchen cupboards. These weren’t boring old tins and packets I was sorting but books and magazines and papers, and what they all had in common was lots and lots of irresistibly tempting print. And what do I always do when faced with print – why of course I read it.
As far back as I can remember I’ve been in love with reading. As a child, I’m told, I taught myself to read before school age by constantly asking my parents “What does that say?” whenever I came across words, any words, even on the side of a bus. After that I couldn’t see a cornflake packet on the breakfast table without reading every word on it and my first introduction to foreign languages was the French bit on the HP sauce bottle.
Later my long-suffering mother was forced to take me off fire-lighting duty and give me another chore, because, instead of lighting the fire with yesterday’s newspaper, I would just sit on the hearth rug and read it. This passion for reading is probably why I decided to become a librarian and is certainly why housework comes so low on my list of priorities. If it were a toss-up between dusting and reading, any kind of reading – well, which would you choose?
Image via Wylio
Image via Wylio