Sunday, 3 May 2009

Mrs Mopp lives!

I am not a naturally domesticated type. This may shock you (unless you actually know me, in which case you will be snorting to yourself and muttering "Understatement!"). It would shock you even more if you knew my mother who most definitely is domesticated. She has been known to iron socks.

In fact, when she used to look after the boys (the halcyon days when I never had to hoover my own carpets!) I once came in from work to find my mum wearing the expression she normally reserved for days when either she or the kids had broken something or she had hit something in our car. "I hope you don't mind," she said nervously, "but I ironed your husband's handkerchiefs". Yeah, she got a kick out of ironing my hubbie's cotton hankies. That, my friends, is domesticity squared.

I, on the other hand, do not iron anything. I have been known to go for days weeks without hoovering and dusting seems to me to be a pointless exercise because the dust always comes back. Today, however, I have been channelling my inner housewife. I have scrubbed our shower room to within an inch of its life, discovering in the process the colour our tiles are actually supposed to be. I have hoovered bits of our upstairs that have not seen a hoover in....let's see, we moved in here in 1999........

In particular I hoovered under the Humpty box. This is not, as its name suggests, a box for keeping Humpties in (in my experience, Humpties refuse to be kept in anything - they tend to roam our house unchecked). It is in fact an old wooden blanket box that used to belong to Husband's grandmother and which now sits in our upstairs hall outside the boys' bedroom. The Humpties, of which we have many, hang out on top of it, hence the name. I haven't moved this box for, ummm, quite a while. When I did so today, I nearly ran out of the house. There was a creature under there the likes of which I have never seen before. It was made entirely from old slippers, bits of lego and dust. The dust was holding it all together. One stray burst of static electricity and I swear it would have started breathing.

Bravely I held my nose and dived in to dismantle the creature. The slippers were beyond saving and even if they weren't, they scared me so I shovelled the whole lot into a bin bag and threw them out. Then I hoovered like my life depended on it. I am now hugely, unjustifiably proud of my upstairs hall - reasonably clean and devoid of odd dust-based lifeforms.

There is however one part of me which genuinely does seem to resemble the sort of woman who appears in Persil adverts. I absolutely love being able to hang up my laundry outdoors. I derive enormous pleasure from hanging washing out and even more from bringing it in again, all fresh and smelling lovely - this due largely to the fact that I have a whirligig (rotary clothes dryer to the non-Scots out there) and it is positioned to drag my washing through a large rosemary bush every time it rotates. Better than any fabric softener, I tell you.

So, do you think there is hope for me yet? Could I yet morph into another Anthea Turner? And if so, how the hell do I stop that happening?!

Edited to add: Croila tells me that house dust barely qualifies as such if you can roll it up in a sheet and stick it in the bin. And no, she does not want to come round and do my hoovering for me. Can't imagine why not........


  1. Oh dear. I hate to tell you that I am a fan of your show, "How Clean Is Your House".
    Actually I am like you. I have these odd bursts of steam, but can tell you that they disappear as quickly as they came on. There is hope!

  2. I have these fantasies of enjoying housework and of being a good housewife during my current imposed stay at home. They usually involve me looking quite darling in a day dress, apron, house shoes and some kind of kerchif on my head. I then spend hours torturing myself with etsy looking at all the absolutely adorable aprons and other retro inspired things that are sold there. And don't do any housework. At all.

    It's raining today. Maybe I'll do some cleaning :P

  3. Ironing SOCKS?! I'm like you in that I never iron unless wearing something unironed is a penal offence. I deliberately buy clothes for myself and D which require the least ironing possible, and okay, yes, I do actually send him to school every day in unironed clothes. They're clean though! He's too young to give a stuff whether he's creased or not though, and I was never in line for the Mother of the Year award anyway.

    But I'm not like with hoovering and dusting, OMG noooooo. I absolutely luuuuuurve hoovering. I usually hoover every day as soon as I get in from work - there's something really nice in doing something a wee bit physical after you've been sitting at a desk all day. Of course, having dark red carpets which show every single bit of fluff and crumb makes frequent hoovering necessary. Also, hoovering is instant gratification :-)

    Is the word "whirligig" really a Scots word? I just assumed everyone used it!

  4. I LOVE housework posts. I'm very sad.

    And your mother and the socks? My mother in law and her would get on well. Or they would fight, to the death.

  5. Whirligig. I think in North America a whirligig is a helicopter...or maybe that's a whirlibird; maybe the whirligig is that carnival ride. Anyway, I'm withdrawing my open invitation to stay with me if you ever come to Ottawa. I don't enjoy housework either, but I really, really hate living in mess or disarray or with the thought that there might be dust things forming behind, in or under stuff - so I do my housework faithfully and with alarming regularity.

  6. I've always called those things "Those clotheslines that are on a pole and you can rotate them". Whirligig is much shorter to say and therefore more efficient. You can still come stay with me (so long as you make your own toast) as our housework styles seem quite compatible:

  7. Loth - Do you ever see "Come Dine with me" - stick with me I do get back to the point. There was a classic the other week where a woman was so obsessed with keeping her kitchen clean that the guests looked like they were going to starve to death between courses. She was already two hours late serving her starter. No she did not win.....

  8. I like your style! Ironing socks, for goodness sake. Life is too short! My grandmother ironed undies!

    I have to agree with you re clothes on the line... i think it's because the days are so rare and precious when whether permits this. they smell SO good like you say. unlike scorching australia when you can hang your clothes outside all the time and they dry so fast and hard you could slice someone's head off with a towel!

  9. I had that moment of "have to clean everything in sight" in my kitchen last week. It was weird. My dusting philosophy is the same as yours, and I can easy just forget about it.

    Here near Vancouver BC, it's so wet and humid that I can't put the clothes outside until July or they'd be rained on and moldy. Ew.