Thursday, 17 January 2013

How to be a Domestic Goddess

Since Christmas I've felt shiftless. I've peered into the cobwebbed corners of my soul to pinpoint the malaise. True, it's a dismal feeling, after months of anticipation, to know that I've ridden the Santa Express through the local garden centre for the last time this winter. It was upsetting to hoof our friendly Christmas tree onto the cold pavement on Twelfth Night and I am being persecuted by boxes of Ferraro Rocher, which multiply unpalatably across the vicarage as fast as I offload them.

But these private pains don't give me my answer. Then, suddenly, I find it in a bottle of Fairy Liquid. I am shiftless because, when Christmas faded out, so did the sustaining mounds of washing up. No sane person enjoys the scabbed dishes from a family supper, but the dramatic aftermath of a banquet is one of the pleasures of the festive season.

You can put on Act III of a grand opera (you can rely on everyone melodiously dying in Act III), shut the door, snaffle choice leftovers and, safe in the knowledge that noone will come near the kitchen until the last teaspoon has been rinsed, sink into rare luxury of reverie. There's a hypnotic rhythm in reaching, dunking, sponging and rinsing. A satisfaction in imposing order on chaos with the flick of a Marigold and a skill in assembling towering sculptures of crockery on the draining rack.

Above all, there is something about a pair of Marigolds that gives one a sense of invincible purpose. When, in my yellow gauntlets, I watch TV from the sofa it proclaims to the family that I'm not idling, I'm in transit between chores. The suds on the pages of my novel are testament to the fact that I am in restless pursuit of family welfare and noone dares begrudge an afternoon kip to a woman sheathed in damp rubber.

But now my Marigolds, integral part of my Christmas wardrobe, lie limply over the mixer tap and I am a woman without purpose or justified solitude in the kitchen. It's been three weeks since Tosca last flung herself from the castle ramparts.

Suddenly, though, I am enlightened. I don't need the detritus of a dozen diners to validate myself. Hastily I don gloves and pinnie. I'm wearing them while Tweeting in the armchair when the Vicar comes in. 'I'll do the bedtime story tonight,' he says. 'You look as though you've been hard at it all afternoon.' He bustles off to the children's bedrooms and I dart out of my chair and put Madam Butterfly, Act III, on the stereo.

21 comments:

  1. Genius my dear. My man does most of the washing up luckily, as its my most hated chore! He looks fetching in his marigolds!

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    1. I can just visualise it! It was the Vicar who got me into rubber, actually. He's a great believer in such protection.

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  2. Educational and inspiring - I'm now wondering how little I can get away with whilst still looking busy, quite a lot I suspect ....

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  3. My favourite phrase: yellow gauntlets

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  4. I find the best way to ensure my husband thinks I've been busy is to plug the Hoover in somewhere visible and to drape a tea-towel over my shoulder.

    As for rubber gloves, that is the topic of conversation over on my blog at the moment, but for an entirely different reason!

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  5. Aha, so THAT is the secret to getting husband to support your tweeting addiction! *rushes off to purchase marigolds*

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    1. Only works with a chunky laptop though. Rubbery fingers can't tweet on an iPhone.

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  6. I am in awe. Teach me everything you know, I will hang on your every word. My Guru.

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    1. It's easy, dear, when you get into the right mindset. Keep the Hoover plugged in near the sofa and turn it on when you hear your mother's car. Have a duster in the pocket at all times. And always maintain a full basket of laundry at the bedside so you can rear up and be in motion with it should a partner pop in.

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  7. Now you are a very, very canny lady. I have just checked that I indeed have TWO PAIRS of marigolds under the sink - now I need some spritzing to feign sweat....

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  8. I do love a good pair of marigolds.....

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    1. Yes, one feels ready for anything from unblocking a drain to delivering a calf when fortified in a pair!

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  9. I've always fancied some of those posh marigolds - you know, the ones with fur linings or leopard print, but then I'd probably not wear them. I have music in the kitchen too. We have stretched to Mozart for the Kids courtesy the great Father Christmas too. There's alot to be said for solitude in the aftermath. :)

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    1. I had a pair once. Black rubber with red roses. They made washing up a most glamorous chore.

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  10. Well, I always knew you were a fraud. Fancy mistaking Puccini for grand opera, when, as any fule kno, it's verismo.

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