I did something really old-fashioned this morning: I filled a bucket with hot soapy water, got down on my hands and knees, and scrubbed the kitchen floor. And the laundry floor, but somehow that doesn’t have the same ring to it.
There is fun to be had, even in such a task! But before you picture me as one of those women (if indeed any such exist) who enjoy crawling across a wet dirty floor dragging a heavy bucket about, let me assure you, the scrubbing itself is not the attraction, although there is a certain satisfaction in seeing pristine cleanliness where once – well, let us draw the veil of charity over what it looked like before!
The really fun bit of scrubbing the floor is drying it – rather like Amélie’s mother enjoying polishing the parquet with her slippers. Where else in one’s daily round – all right, conscience, weekly round – all right, monthly – look, never mind how often I scrub the floors! The floor is scrubbed; let conscience be content.
How often in one’s regular (or irregular, insists my conscience) life as an adult does one have the chance to play The Floor is Made of Lava?
OK, if you’re a footman at Buckingham Palace, you may be called upon to skate up and down the dining table with polishing cloths tied to your feet, but we can’t all be footmen. Especially those of us who are of the female persuasion – but then, the royal website says the Royal Household “strives to ensure that all employees are able to contribute to their maximum potential, irrespective of gender” etc etc, so you never know. Any readers who are female footmen (footwomen?) in Her Majesty’s employ are welcome to comment below.
Fool that I was, I failed to take the example of the footman and Amélie’s mother. Instead of attaching the cloths to my feet, I draped a couple across the kitchen floor. All very well until I had nearly scrubbed myself out the back door and found there was nary a cloth in sight. There lay the glistening laundry floor, as barren and bare as the Arctic plain, and there was I like Frankenstein’s monster stranded on its ice floe.
Yes, it was lava, and now it’s ice. Try to keep up. No, I am not wearing skis.
In the end I simply howled for the Caped Gooseberry to come and save me, which he nobly did, hurling cloths across the intervening space like some sort of mythical giant hurling rocks into a lake of lava. (Yes! It’s lava again!) Be warned: it is dangerous out there; take a cloth with you.
Restored to the relative safety of the kitchen archipelago at last, I leapt lightly from place to place about that most crucial part of all household work: making the cup of tea. Actually, archipelago is overstating it: there were only two cloths and they were a stride away from each other, and from everything else. An arabesque enabled me to extend the kettle as far as the tap – rather like this:
only more sensibly dressed. I may strand myself on a laundry ice floe without skis, but I would never wear ice skates when the floor is made of lava. Credit me with some sense 🙂
How do you have fun with your housework? I’d love to hear your ideas!