I know someone who has the most immaculate house. It’s not large, that helps of course, but she and her partner have kept their pocessions to a minimum. It’s not stark and bare, but it is tidy and the only things around are quality. Not for her the cheap and cheerful cushions or the ornaments littering the mantle. They have very nice tastes and won’t buy or display anything that doesn’t exactly suit the place. They are also very clean and tidy cooks. They work well together, preparing the meal they share the cleaning up and putting away of every item used. They constantly wash down the surfaces, sweep the floor, empty the rubbish out. Their guest suite is small but so perfectly formed – it is a delight to use the bathroom – divinely clean and sweet smelling. Since my last visit there, I have started being cleaner and tidier. Hurrah we all say!
Some of the things we do in our day to day lives are ones that we just happen to learn needed doing when we were knee high to local grasshoppers. We should all have learnt to shake the cover and make the bed neatly beore stomping downstais for breakfast. We should also be aware when stuff gets spilt on the floor and hasn’t yet been mopped up, a tiny spot of something greasy on a stone floor can be absolutely disasterous. When our parents get too old to effectively clean up their bathrooms and kitchens, it can be hard talking to them about these jobs. They’re always proudly convinced they don’t need any help or advice. A local cleaning agency can provide the answer – they not only send regular staff, they bring their own mateirals and equipment as part of the price and there’s added peace of mind that the house is back to more sanitary considition!
There are many aspects of keeping a house or business premises spick and span. I don’t know whether we were just less fussy in the old days, or we just didn’t have the mess, but there are certain jobs that need a really professional cleaning operation to be effective. Take patio and driveway cleaning for example. For families that entertain regularly, it is nice to sit out on the patio, glass of proseco in hand, admiring the surroundings. It is less lovely if the patio is all stained with black weathering and green moss. It is possible to clean it ourselves using a high bleach content cleaner, but it is very time consuming and you have to be quick otherwise birds and pets can be affected. Engaging a company to do this will be well worth the fee. They clean car parks too. Makes the kerb appeal so much greater for domestic and business premises.
I holiday every year in cyprus – that lusciously hot and historical gem of an isle in the med. there are some things about the place that do make me smile though and however many years I have been going, it never fails to amuse me how laid back some of the services are. When you see a cleaning lady, the speed of operation is slow. Every action is like time standing still. You wait for her to get to your bit of space but she takes for ages. The brooms are such an odd design – completely flat either side, not angled to aid the operation. The dustpans don’t have bevelled edges to make the sweeping of dust into them any easier. The floor mops are likeold fashioned school ones that don’t wring out very well. I am amazed that such a cute holiday spot keeps going, but clean or not, it does.
Coming to the summer holidays reminds me with a jolt that I will be off to sunny cyprus before very long. I enjoy the whole experience from leaving home and dealing with matters at the airport. Waiting in the queue at baggage drop always fascinates me. For a people watcher, airports are absolute heaven. Clean airports are even better. I note that they are much hotter on clearing up litter and emptying bins. Whether this is a security matter, in that empty bins can’t hide anything untoward, not sure. However I note that the janitor services in the washrooms is also much better than it ever used to be. The quality of the paper towels and liquid soap is sometimes called into question mind you. But on the whole, the frequency of the cleaning machines being manoeuvred about as unobtrusively as possible is most encouraging and helps my holiday get going that bit better!
You really have to keep on top of things when the weather takes on an extreme turn. Cleaning up more often and thoroughly is the name of the game. At times I get a bit lazy and don’t worry too much abot the odd toast crumb or bit of spud that’s left my plate and landed on the kitchen floor. Since being invaded by a massive horde of flying ants and other grim things, I have made serious efforts to sweep up constantly and to get the rubbish out of the house and into the correct wheelie bin. We have a food disposal bin too, mine went missing recently and I really do have to replace it. My cleaning routine is so much more organised – vacuuming is done much more often and whenever there is something sticky on the floor or worktop, it is dealt with immediately. I swab with disinfectant much more now too.
I was on stewarding duty at a local country house the other week. We had lots of children in on a coach trip. The schools are finding this new facility an absolute boon fo their social history lessons. The focal point for the y ounger visitors is the downstairs servants’ quarters which are all interactive and lots of things for them to try out. There’s cleaning the silver coffee pot, and some silver dinner forks – with strict instructions on how to treat each article so as not to damage them. Then further along we come to the laundry tunnel – the original one. Masses of bedding and other linens was loaded in to tumbrills at the start of the tunnel by ‘oddman’ and received by the laundry maids the other end. There are sinks and big mangles – everything that the old laundry would have had – plus a cheery soundtrack of babbling cheery voices of the cheek laundry maids at their work.
I help out at a heritage property a few hours a week. My main tasks are to help visitors enjoy the rooms and all the knowledge that can be offered in relation to the artefacts. There is a tea room on site and it would seem that many a visitor stops off there first and then decides to purchase a house ticket. We like the clean and tidy visitor. Especially those without walking boots and backpacks. However we are diplomatic and manage to wrestle damaging personal bags off them. The toilet facilities are newly updated, the decision to keep them in the sparse 1920s version was happily abandoned in favour of swish basins with automatic taps that turn themselves off and very quick air hand dryers. These items alone save massively on the mess that can build up in washrooms. The home engages professional cleaners in the high season So worth the premium!
There are times when the cleaning does seem like a never ending cycle. I feel much the same – especially after I’ve had my sister’s dogs over for the weekend. My goodness me they are great fun, give much love and affection, but really are simply the messiest articles around! There is hair and mud all over the kitchen – I have a large, l-shaped room with a leather sofa for everyone not actually engaged in the important work to congregate on . . . the dogs seem to somehow spread the mess with some sort of magic. I have always managed to wipe up the worst of it before getting down to a serious disinfect and clean up. Now though i have discovered the absolute joy of a professional cleaning company – my goodness me the difference is absolutely worth the small fee every time – just the occasional one never breaks the bank but restores the spirit!
Ah yes, Shrove Tuesday is here. One of my very favourite dates in the calendar and one I particularly revel in. I can’t help getting slightly excited by the prospect of pancakes. I only ever have them on Shrove Tuesday, never any other day, although they are simple enough to make and cook. I still hear my mother’s heartfelt pleas for us to keep as much of the pancake in the pan if we could possibly oblige . . . rather than sharing it with the carpet, chairs, dining table. The pancake itself is easy enough to make, simple batter, but getting the correct amount of oil in the pan, too much and it all swims, not enough and the pancake cements itself to the pan and will rarely lift off to toss. There is a knack. I’ve taken 50 odd years to perfect it. Getting oil & grease off the carpet is another matter!