Nature abhors a vacuum*

I found myself recently brimming with smugness, having managed – on a school day – to provide Girl with two ‘activities’.  Three, if you include a mortifying (for me) ride round Tesco in a one of those ridiculous Little-Tikes-esque car trollies, wheels screeching at every lumbering corner and Girl steering wildly down the straights like a fifties film star, performing vicious right turn indicators in the style of Clyde the orangutan and beeping with furious aisle-rage at anyone foolish enough to make eye contact.

No, I am not a mum that chalks up five outings before breakfast every Saturday, so my children are passing out with fatigue by lunch.  For me, getting two kids into and out of a swimming pool after school on a Thursday is pretty much the pinnacle of shining motherhood.  However, this is followed inevitably by the return – bang on teatime – to a dinnerless home.  Plus, of course, the house is a midden – because I did TWO ACTIVITIES ON A SCHOOL DAY – and my smugness is replaced quickly by a feverish guilt over undone hoovering.

I swear I never used to be this arsed about housework.  If memory serves, when I was at home with baby Boy (now 5 – keep up) I was entirely untroubled by thoughts of domestic chores.  Dust?  Polish?!  You’re ‘avin’ a giraffe, mate. I trotted out “dirty children are happy children” and “clean houses produce asthmatics” homilies regularly and our home was cleaned ‘properly’ but two or three times a year, corresponding with parental visits.  The thought alone of watching Anthea Turner preach out of my telly about being a good housewife was enough to bring me out in hives, never mind the bed bugs.

Nowadays, alas, it does bother me.  A bit.  This is likely because people actually come in these days, the school run bringing with it new friends, play dates and afternoon tea wine.  Also, I’ve realised now that people in small houses can’t get away with harbouring as much dirt as people in big houses.  By that I mean I can’t wave my hand airily towards hovering guests, barking, “Do sit down. Don’t mind the dog hairs; the lurchers are moulting. Clumps of it everywhere.”  (Not in the least because we haven’t got any lurchers. We did once foster a small terrier and an arthritic Alsatian that wore boots and shat in the kitchen but that’s another story).  Rather, I find myself screaming, “Shoes off!” at Boy’s petrified friends before they’ve even crossed the threshold; or worrying about the state of the bathroom grout.

The solution is clearly to move to a rambling Victorian manor house in which I can rattle about messily, dragging in mud on my Hunters, leaving old tack on the dining room table and co-ordinating none of the furnishings.  As long as Mrs Hobbs keeps things dust-free in the Drawing Room on sherry and bridge day, the dogs can have the run of the rest of the house , dropping hairs with canine abandon.  And hang the bloody grout.

So if anyone knows of anything for sale in Edinburgh that fits that description, around the £250K mark, do let me know. No? No. I thought not.

Do remove your shoes, please.

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*”Nature abhors a vacuum. And so do I.”  [Anne Gibons]

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