A friend called in for coffee the other day. Her little daugher was with her. As we sat and chatted at the kitchen table, I noticed the little girl looking around the kitchen as if she had never seen it before. As a joke, I said to the little one “Strange, isn’t it? I cleaned today”. My neighbour replied “We noticed. The hall too. It’s gleaming”.
I didn’t know whether to be pleased or not. It is nice, of course, when someone notices that you have done something. But I hadn’t done a major spring clean. I’d swept and washed the kitchen and hall floors, tidied away coats and shoes and cleaned the kitchen reasonably well.
Since then I’ve been wondering ‘Am I the woman with the dirty house?’. We all know her. The friend or neighbour we visit and like but who isn’t a good housekeeper and doesn’t employ a cleaner. The one whose kitchen table is always a bit sticky and whose floors need a rub of the hoover. The one you secretly feel like buying new tea towels for but can’t find the right occasion to give them. Because who wants tea towels for their birthday anyway.
In a way it is kind of liberating to know that I am that woman. I have plenty of friends, a good stream of visitors and invitations to other people’s houses. Cleaning isn’t a big priority with me, although I do like the place to be clean. So, I know where I stand now. The state of the place isn’t bad enough to keep people away. Which in turn means people must like me and my family despite our often grubby home.
I actually bought new tea towels last week in Choggia in a shop called Croff. They are really pretty. I was going to give them as a present. And I think I will. To myself.