The swing of it

Friday June 23, 2006

“I don’t think I can handle that lurid blue straight off,” I said, referring to the walls in the study. “I need something gentler to get me going.”

“Tell you what,” Graham said. “Why don’t you tackle the kitchen cleaning and I’ll do the bathrooms. If we can get them even part way clean today it’ll be a darn good start.”

“You got it. Coffee?”

“Good thinking.”

So I made two mugs of steaming hot coffee, the first in the new house, using a spoon I’d fashioned from a small piece of card to measure the granules and the longest key on my chain to stir the brew. I’d forgotten to take a teaspoon to the house, you see.

“Sorry it’s instant,” I said. “It’ll be a while before we can make the real thing.”

“Doesn’t matter. It’s delicious.”

I suppose the first cup of coffee in a new home is bound to taste pretty good and, sitting on our brand new very cheap folding chairs in the sunshine by the open french doors in the dining nook, this one certainly did.

I found some sticky patches on the kitchen counters and inside cupboards and drawers that made me gasp in horror but which provided a break from the general coating of grime I cleared by means of hot water and strong detergent. It took three passes to render them clean, rather fewer than I’d thought, and a final wipe-down with a Dettol solution made sure that all was food safe, the way a kitchen ought to be. From now on, any dirt on those surfaces will be our own.

Graham’s horror gasps from the bathrooms were rather more vocal than mine, especially when he discovered that the sealed sheet vinyl flooring in the downstairs cloakroom was not dark grey but instead a perfectly acceptable marbled blue. Apparently that was revealed as he wiped up the spills from cleaning behind the w.c. basin. I’ll let gentility hide a description of what he found behind the basin.

We kept going as long as we could, beginning the job of bringing the house up to a standard of cleanliness with which we’re happy to live, then took our sandwich lunch back on the cheap-o chairs. I suspect that the Chinese designers and manufacturers were not expecting their product to have to cope with anyone of my bulk and weight because, shifting awkwardly in my seat, I found that the chair was slowly crumpling under me, lowering me gently to the floor. Great hilarity ensued.

“I think that perhaps we ought to have spent a bit more on temporary seating than we did with these,” I said.

“Mine seems a bit tougher, but please get yourself something a bit more solid when you come over tomorrow. This broken one can go over to the recycling centre with the rusty old chrome bathroom fittings when we finish here today.”

We went on with the cleaning job after lunch but time ran out on us and we had to break off to get Graham back to the holiday camp in time to open the bar early this evening. The recycling centre is excellent, and conveniently situated, too.

“There’ll be no excuse for letting the clutter mount up here,” I said. “It’ll add no more than five minutes to supermarket trips to stop off with stuff as it accumulates.”

“I shall hold you to that.”

And so ended our first cleaning session at the new house. I shall continue tomorrow and, possibly, on Sunday, but Graham will need to spend the weekend getting the bars up and going as the season starts tomorrow. He’s planning to take another day at the house on Monday and, possibly, Tuesday. The pace will pick up as we get into the swing of it.


That lurid blue



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