Ah, the delicate art of putting things off. I wrote the book. Or rather, I will when I get around to it.
Take my housework.
Off my hands. Please.
No no no, I've been good today really. I started off intending to do a Lucy on the kitchen. Doing a Lucy is a phrase known only to me and one of my colleagues. It refers to a character called Lucy Eyelesbarrow in Agatha Christies '4.50 from Paddington'. Lucy is a sort of super-housekeeper, the kind of person you get in when the staff have all walked out and you yourself can't boil water.
I have never been in the position of having staff to walk out or being able to afford a Lucy or even a Mrs Mopp. I boil my own water (using an electric kettle that knows when to switch itself off. I understand these things are rare in the States. How on earth do you manage? Please don't tell me you don't drink tea. That's impossible. EVERYONE drinks tea.)
I've lost the thread a bit. Where was I? Oh yes, planning to do a Lucy on the kitchen. If I 'do a Lucy' it means I'm doing it all myself.
Didn't happen. No, not because I put it off but because the rest of my flat was so minging doing a Lucy on the kitchen would actually have been a luxury.
Here, for those of you for whom the phrase 'too much information' is redundant, is what I did this morning, pre-disaster. More on the disaster in a moment, but to titillate your minds, there's a cat involved.
Where was . . . oh, the list. Of what I did:
- take sheets off bed and shove in washing machine. Remember, belatedly, to switch WM on
- sort pile of dry washing and put away what doesn't need ironing (most of it, in my book)
- lug ironing pile into sitting room and switch on iron. At this point large cat leaves. He hates the noise the iron makes, the rattle of coathangers and the creak of the ironing board
- do ironing. Prove to self that I can still iron six shirts in half an hour, if I'm not too fussy about the shoulders and believe me darlings, I'm not
- then do last night's washing up. And the night before's
- clean kitchen sink, draining board, dish rack, washing up bowl, windowsill. There'll be a blue moon tonight
- tidy junk out of sitting room. Express surprise to self at amount of junk. Didn't realise I even owned this much, and yet here it all is, in the sitting room
- dust sitting room and realise it is some time since I did this. Really quite a long time
- take washing out of washing machine, hang it outside. The washing that has been out overnight is crisp. This is not because it is dry, but because it has frozen. Heave sigh
- put more washing in washing machine. I've got a backlog, owing to the amount of rain we've had
- sit down to sew up moth-hole in cashmere jumper and replace buttons that have come off tonight's duvet cover. The buttons have needed doing for at least four years so today's a big day
- observe large cat, who has returned and is sitting on sofa looking . . . . ah
Looking AS THOUGH HE HAS BEEN IN A FIGHT. He has tufts of fur sticking up and mutinous expression on his face.
Go into CATastrophe mode.
Lock cat flap, observing as do so that it is mucky. Collar cat, who swears. Put cat on sitting room table. Fetch bowl of hot water and salt from kitchen, cotton wool from bedroom. Carry these into sitting room. Collar cat, who swears, from kitchen. Carry cat into sitting room. Put cat on sitting room table. Add salt to bowl of water and stir. Collar cat, who swears, from bathroom. Carry cat into sitting room. Put cat on sitting room table.
Start feeling cat all over. Remove loose tufts of fur. After about ten minutes, during which cat gets increasingly testy, find bloody bit. Bathe with salt water which has now gone cold. Cat yowls. Tell cat shutupit'syourownfault. Take fresh bit of cotton wool. Bathe again. Continue till cotton wool is used up and cat has turned into alien.
Unhand cat, who takes off at Mach 3 for the kitchen. And much good may it do him, the catflap is still locked.
Enter kitchen and decide to clean catflap (covered in layer of catsnot and catfur). Squirt with lemon-flavoured kitchen cleaner. Straighten up to get brush to scrub catflap with and in the 10 seconds that back is turned the bloody cat shoves his nose in the lemon scented foam in the attempt to get through the locked catflap.
Collar cat, who swears. Carry cat into sitting room. Put cat on sitting room table. Wash cat's nose. Shut cat in sitting room, return to kitchen, finish cleaning catflap, open catflap, open sitting room door, watch cat's dust disappear on the horizon.
Sit down in ladylike manner and complete interrupted mending.
Vacuum floors, wash floors, and decide . . .
I'VE HAD ENOUGH HOUSEWORK FOR ONE DAY.
PS: the cat is back, and sleeping it all off