I’ve discovered something slightly unnerving.
I’ve discovered that I like doing housework.
Let me rush in and add caveats before you all disappear in disgust. I’m almost as fussy about getting the conditions right for doing housework as I about tea.
Daylight. Daylight’s essential; sunlight for preference with a nice dry breeze. Open the windows and let the dust float away.
No time pressure. I’m ok if I can set aside a whole day for housework and then and dither around online in the intermissions, listening again to Radio 4, converting CDs into iTunes fodder, playing a couple of moves in Scrabulous on Facebook and drinking tea. If I’m cleaning against the clock, the clock wins hands down.
The other thing that’s important is a cleanable house. Some houses are difficult to clean – this one in particular. The carpet in the living room is one of those short plush jobs which sucks and binds cat hair into a layer of filth coloured felt; the Strong Force of quarks and gluons is as nothing to the force that binds cat hair to my living room carpet. The kitchen floor is cheap pine and varnished but not sealed. Anything that falls on to it is wrapped in the warm embrace of the botulism bacteria reaching up lovingly before it even hits the ground. No 4 second rule in this house. If it hits the floor it either stays there to be trodden in and add to the patina or else it is binned immediately. And upstairs there is no room to wield a hoover. The wall dividing the two box rooms will eventually go and I’ll have one bijou little bedroom with enough margin for a hoover to hoove, but not yet.
However, even though this house will not be clean without major building works, there is still something soothing to the soul in wresting order from chaos, in watching the forces of entropy swirl round and round in a dyson and then tipping them into a black bin-bag and out of the house altogether, in discovering that the bath is smooth under its layer of fluff. It’s not as if I do it particularly often.
The key thing is enough time, and a sunny day.