I once in the dark days of my misguided and somewhat cavalier youth went out with someone wholly incompatible to myself. The primary problem when leaving home is you invariable meet people out of context. Back in the safety of York it seemed easy to have fun with boys but relationships in London, well that was really not too easy. This boyfriend's parents lived in a fairly modest new build in an anonymous town in the Midlands, but what absolutely mesmerised me was his mothers ability to clean. I mean industrially clean, she would walk through the door don an apron put the dinner on (incl veg!) and set to with a vacuum cleaner and a can of polish. Once done dinner would be served, then tidied and finally washed up after before she sat down to sew or knit. She was so unassuming that despite being promoted at work from machinist to a supervisor she never told a sole, not even her husband.
So now I have lost Daisy and the au-pair I may have more space but I am back vacuuming and and dealing with the chaos of the kitchen. I am in awe of this woman who seemed to get stuck in with a tenacity I can only dream of. I hate cleaning, really I get no pleasure, I ooze resentment from every pore of my body when cleaning. A moment wiping is a moment lost from reading writing or painting. I guess it is genetic, my grandmother lived in complete chaos, piles of newspapers toppled over books and puzzles, shelves groaned under the weight of detritus and cupboards would spill their contents with a sigh of release on opening the door. She once opened the oven door and surprised herself by finding a cooked piece of beef...she seriously pondered as to whether it was worth the risk reheating it! When she died we found money in just about every packet of food in the cupboard, her whole life was chaotic.
My mother although considerably more houseproud would never clean unnecessarily, our houses while superficially tidy were always in need of a lick of paint of something fixing. I too have learnt to just keep on top of the cleaning and whilst it never quite looks sparkling, I hope it is good enough. I am aware that given the choice between chaos and clean I choose my grandmothers house every time bet even so I am in awe of this woman whose memory lingers on long after the relationship.