Saturday, 23 July 2011


So I have begun the assault on the house.

Here are the purchased items this morning: Bathroom tile spray; wood floor cleaner; bleach for the sink where the flies breed; limescale remover and death to all wildlife on every continent cleaner; shiny mirror spray; antiseptic liquid disinfectant; hacksaw; stanley knife; 48 jiffy wipes (bogof).

This suggests furious activity and determined intention, does it not? It is also excellent displacement activity. Acquiring this lot prevents me thinking about anything at all other than bleach squirting, foam spraying, and floor wiping.

The next step is to actually use them.

Yes, I will. Even though the activity will be fraught with dangers and hazards. I maintain that staying inside the house to clean it up, floor to ceiling, is educational too, and perfect for the home educated child to experience during the long summer holiday when the parks, discovery centres, swimming pools and museums are full.

Shark, Squirrel and Tiger need to find out these ways. How house cleaning rituals are the revelation of psychiatry, including as they do all manners of neuroses, phobias and pathological behaviours.

During the ritual bashing of the house into submission I might even get onto the subject of electroconvulsive therapy, if I electrocute myself again. (The cleaning up routine has happened before and it does not always end with a stain-free floor and a pleasant odour.)

Well, half way through the day I can report the children are engaging enthusiastically in this new educational enterprise. They have been a little scared by the original purchasing and have removed the limescale cleaner from me on environmental grounds. Possibly to appease me after I snatched it back again (have you seen the state of the fishy toilet? Do you want to retch into that?) Shark has tidied her desk, Tiger has picked up three books from her bedroom floor, and Squirrel has stashed her finest treasures (including clay balls and splinters of wood) behind her bedroom curtain, where she imagines I will never peer.

So, I can say that house cleaning is all good, and good for us all.

I am feeling momentarily purposeful and vengeful and determined and resolute and going to punch this house in the guts because I am notfuckinggivingintoanything.

The house is looking better.

And the children are embarked on a new turn in their education, having learned that wood soap is very good, the word psyche is Greek to mean butterfly or soul, and life means you can tear good from all circumstance.

Even ones where mother knocks herself sideways with bleach fume, drenches her face in Cif and, without warning, suddenly sinks to the bathroom floor in a crumple and demonstrates psychiatry in action, saying No, nothing's wrong, everything's fine, no, do not worry, I will be alright in a minute. I am just cleaning here, behind the toilet waste pipe.