Saturday, 24 September 2011

What Happened?

Yesterday I put on a jacket I hadn't worn for seven or eight years - yes, that's right, I don't agree with the boring get-rid-of-anything-in-your-wardrobe-you-haven't-worn-recently school of making you waste stuff: my theory is that, if a piece of clothing stays there long enough, it might become vintage, or possibly, given enough time, (and no moth infestations), an heirloom.  Maybe, if not well dry-cleaned, (the clothes, that is, not me), I might even one day open a cupboard and find a treasure trove of living national treasures.

Anyway, there was a bit of paper in the pocket of the (vintage? not quite yet, I think) jacket that I put on, and on the bit of paper I read a list written in the handwriting of an earlier incarnation of me. It was a 'to do' list, and among the things I had told myself to do was this:

'Wipe down skirting boards with lavender oil.'

I looked at the list and then at my skirting boards and realised that perhaps I hadn't always been a person who blocks out anything unpleasant. I must once have actually noticed that the accumulation of dust on most flat surfaces in my house could now be swept up in armfuls and used as parcel wadding - now there's a business idea. When did the change happen? When did I become a slattern?

I remembered then that the plumber who'd come to fix the washing-up machine the other day had congratulated me on the fact that ours was the first house he'd been to in eighteen months where he hadn't found mouse droppings behind the appliances. Presumably then I could forget my panic about my failing housewifely qualities. It would appear that my new slobbish approach to household maintenance was having no ill effects. Or was it actually the case that all those years of neurotic lavender oil scrubbing had built up a  protective barrier against invasion and that in fact nothing but its last and fading echoes were keeping the rodents of Canberra at bay? Once the very last vestige of the lavender oil decades finally evaporates from my skirting boards will we be eaten alive by mice and rats and fleas?

More importantly, liberated as I have become from kneeling at the altar of spotlessness, how have I been using all my newfound spare time? Writing blog posts like this one mainly. It's difficult to say which activity is less useful, even if it is pretty obvious which is more fun.


  1. Did you house smell of lavender oil back then?

  2. Yes, and it smells of old cooking now - but it occurs to me that lavender oil is very volatile so the house was probably constantly on the point of explosion