Monday, 11 April 2016

Pleasurable Pursuits

 





 

 



 
Today was a day for throwing open the windows and letting the April air in. Far from resenting a morning spent indoors cleaning, I relished it. I love restoring the house to order after a school holiday. The first load of washing was on the line by 7.30am, and by 12.30 I had vacuumed, bleached, dusted, mopped, tidied, sorted and plumped like a woman possessed. I know it's not everyone's cup of tea. Cleaning that is. I know that slob chic is a thing. I'm aware that a 'messy house means happy children' or some such rubbish. And frankly that's what it's been over the Easter holidays. I didn't venture into either Sam or Alfie's rooms once. I deposited their laundry outside their doors. I merely asked for dirty cups and plates to be bought downstairs when I was running low. I sniffed the air as I walked past their rooms, and restrained myself from barging in and demanding ventilation, and stripping beds of shameful sheets.
 
But I like clean and tidy. I love to walk past a sparkling bathroom. I find a real pleasure in seeing pressed bedding pulled and tucked to perfection. I swoon when I open my tea towel drawer to see a row of ironed cloths. I like my bits and bobs just so. I love to move furniture around for a different point of view. Call it my post holiday unwind. Call it restoring order from chaos.
 
We have been blessed with beautifully warm sunny weather today. A stark contrast to yesterday's bitter wind and evening thunderstorm. I sat in the back garden late this afternoon and dozed in the sun. It was heavenly to feel my freckles pop, and my skin slightly tighten on my cheeks. The boys were sat on the shed roof - which is forbidden, but goes unheeded - listening to Alf's iPod. I think it might have been Eminem, which wasn't the most pastoral tune going. But maybe it is if you're fourteen. What do I know? (I'm still recovering from dancing like a loon at a friend's fortieth bash on Saturday night. Can I just say that I was one of only two going totally Goth to 'She Sells Sanctuary' by The Cult. For the briefest of times, I convinced myself I was actually sixteen. My thighs the next day told me otherwise).
 
Olly was munching an apple. Alfie was swigging back tic tacs. And it was ideal. We ate tea outside. A kind of picnic tea of bacon baguettes, mugs of tea and apple juice. I'm sure I smelled a barbecue. It was probably our neighbour, Scouse Billy. He can be seen turning sausages, and swigging bottled beer at the first sign of sunshine. It's a very British thing to do, and he does it very well.
 
Of course, as the sun dipped the heat was gone. We wandered back inside, and went about our separate pursuits. I carried on pottering and doing. The boys wrestled in the living room. Good natured, I hasten to add. It's all about WWE here. I don't approve, but that's probably part of the appeal.
 
Bedtime reading was 'Mr Cleghorn's Seal' by Judith Kerr. We had finished 'Return To The Hundred Acre Wood' yesterday. I am enjoying reading a gentler story, after the Roald Dahl fest of recent months. I do like Dahl, but he can be rather violent, don't you think? And while my boys are all for a bit of indiscriminate brutality, they still desire gentler pursuits too. And I must confess that it's rather comforting knowing that Olly's head is filled with tales of animals holding a Harvest Festival, than someone getting their tail blown off by a drunk, before he goes to sleep.
 
I shall be wending my way to bed shortly. With a new book, 'The Trouble With Goats and Sheep' by Joanna Cannon. It was recommended by Rachel Joyce of Harold Fry fame. And because she is marvellous, I took her good advice. The question is, shall I have one last cup of tea before I wend my weary way? Or shall I fly in the face of convention and  go without?
 
Have a lovely week friends.
 
Leanne x
 
 
 
 





42 comments:

  1. I'm the same way, Leanne. I love a clean and tidy house. I feel very annoyed and disorganized otherwise. I remember when my children were babies there was this poem people would post on the message boards I was part of at the time, something about the dust will wait, I'm rocking my babies to sleep. Yes, sometimes this idea spoke to me. More often, though, I would put the baby in a sling and get on with the housework. Usually the baby fell asleep in the sling from the movement of cleaning up. Win-win, I think. I love your photos today, especially the one of your doggie. Such a cute little face. Enjoy reading in bed, it's one of my favorite things to do.

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    1. Hey Jennifer,
      I read far too late last night, and am paying for it today!
      L xx

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  2. That looks beautiful there, 've been stuck in at work!

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    1. Sorry to hear that Simon. I was working today, and it was another sunny one.
      L xx

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  3. Everything looks lovely Leanne!

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  4. What a day you've had and you helped me see it all. I love a clean house, makes me smile a mile, but oh I hate getting it there, I just have to grit my teeth and push on.
    I can remember the wars I had with my daughter over the state of her room, till we agreed that if she'd keep the door shut so I wouldn't have to see it, except on the days I changed sheets, that we'd just agree to disagree about what a clean room entails.

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    1. Yes I have to keep the doors to the older boys rooms shut, or else I'd have a nervous breakdown every time I walked past ;)
      L xx

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  5. Your house is gorgeous and I love the pale blue against your white walls - heaven. It feels so good after having a blitz of the housework like that doesn't it? Usually, I can cope with a bit of dirt, it's the untidiness that gets me down. I also have to avert my eyes when going past a certain daughter's bedroom, although I do have to be on the alert for apple cores left in her bedroom bin - a certain house rabbit can sniff one out in nanoseconds with unfortunate results! You iron your bedding? I'm impressed! xx

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    1. Thank you for your kind words about my house. It all looks okay from a distance, but could do with a bit of diy tlc tbh. Olly would LOVE a house rabbit!
      L xx

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  6. Snap that was me yesterday too. Although it was piddling down throughout the day & I removed three!! bin bags of rubbish from Harry's room. Ah well he has a maths exam today so that's suitable punishment xx

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    1. Tell Harry I am impressed with that amount of rubbish. I hope his exam went well.
      L xx

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  7. I too used to enjoy a thorough top-down clean after the holidays although sometimes it was more akin to mucking out. I think the point of authors like Roald Dahl and JK Rowling is that parents do not need to read them aloud to their children. That's not to say my children did not adore both authors just that I'm jolly glad I never had to read them. (I'm a big fan of Rachel Joyce - I always used to look out for her radio plays before she was a proper published author.) The other day I was remembering Easter Monday 1996. We'd had a busy but lovely weekend and in the evening when my husband took our two-and-a-half-year-old son upstairs for bath, stories and songs I blitzed through downstairs like a whirling dervish. A few hours later I was cuddling our new-born daughter after the easiest labour and I'm sure it was because during the whole of that Easter weekend I barely sat down. Our beautiful and best daughter was 20 on Saturday, how time flies when you're having fun. West Penwith is calling to me so badly, I'm imagining the cliffs studded with wild flowers and the sparkling blue sea below.

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    1. I remember going into cleaning over drive shortly before my eldest was born. West Penwith is gearing up for its' stunning wild floral display. I've seen the first of the Cow Parsley today. I think that's early even for here.
      L xx

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  8. there is something so calming about restoring order. I don't think I accomplished half as much as you, but it still felt good x

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  9. I have builders in putting in a new kitchen so no hope of a clean house here ;-(. Come the weekend I shall be at work with Hoover and broom :-). Yours sounded a lovely day. Xx

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    1. Ooh CT, I'm very excited about your kitchen re-fit. Ours does need some updating, but if Marc suggested a complete overhaul I think I'd have a cold sweat.
      L xx

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  10. Your day sounds like it was absolutely perfect. I also love a clean and tidy house, but am willing to skip the ironed bed linens. While they would be nice, I despise ironing, so it just isn't going to happen. I love that you read to Olly. Reading aloud to my kids when they were young is one of my fondest memories.

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    1. I enjoyed the quiet industry very much Kristie. Reading to the boys is a real pleasure. Even if it's been a bad day, snuggling up with a book makes everything better.
      L xx

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  11. It all looks lovely: so good to see sunshine falling across the rooms again. Bedtime reading is special - I remember the devastation when I was told "I'd rather read to myself now.."!

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    1. Oh Lou I remember Sam telling me that he'd was quite capable of reading by himself. I found it quite upsetting too!
      L xx

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  12. hehe I'm glad I'm not the only one who gets that satisfaction of getting the house in order after the children go back to school. It's like a sigh of relief lol.

    Your tulips look lovely. Mine are still green with a faint hint of their eventual colour

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    1. Hey Evelyn,
      That's exactly it! A long, slow clean sigh of relief!
      L xx

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  13. I do so much love a clean and tidy house but unfortunately, I would have to give the children away to achieve it. I do love a sparkling bathroom most of all and ours are always ready for visitors but I just don't have the energy to iron the sheets. How luxurious and wonderful it would be though (stares at the ironing board in the corner). We had a picnic yesterday, too. It was biting cold and terribly windy at the top of the world but we don't easily give up on a plan :-) It sounds like a blissful day at yours. xx

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    1. Perhaps you could just iron your sheets ;) I confess that I don't iron the boys, because there isn't any point. When we were trying to sell the house, I had pre ironed bedding to whip on the beds should anyone want to look around. Aren't windy picnics a mandatory exercise during the summer? How else do you get your hair stuck in a blob of mayonnaise?
      L xx

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  14. A very satisfying sound of a day. Shiny bath taps, pressed teatowels and a book for bedtime..I look forward to your opinion. My jury is out on this one! The smell of a BBQ...bring it on! B xx

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    1. Ooh have you already read it? We shall have to compare notes!
      L x

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    2. I will say nothing until you finish....

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  15. I love a clean and tidy house as well, and like you I was at it like a demon this morning as soon as I got back from the school run. Hoovering, dusting, washing the kitchen floor, plumping cushions. It's hugely satisfying to restore order for a few short hours isn't it. Gorgeous photos, I particularly like the tulips and white daffodils, nicely done. And your pond looks delightful. I hope you have a good week Leanne. CJ xx

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    1. Hey CJ,
      Wilkinsons finest bulbs. As good as Sarah Raven anyday ;)
      L x

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  16. Hope you enjoyed your reading and had that last cuppa! xx

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    1. I did indeed Amy!
      L x

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  17. Gorgeous photos and it's nice to know I'm not the only one who enjoys restoring the house after school holidays, much as I dislike house cleaning. It feels we can then face what ever comes in the first week back to school. Can you send some of your sun up here please? We seem to have slipped back into winter with rain, hail, sleet, snow and 0 degrees! Have a lovely week x

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    1. We've had rain today Rona, but it's been a rather lovely end to the day. Sadly Olly is too involved in playing with hos trains to venture ip the hill.
      L xx

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  18. Your house is just so lovely Leanne, gorgeous colours. You have given me some ideas for our kitchen in our (hopefully) new house. It's all too much wood at the moment so may have a go at painting the cupboard doors.

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    1. Thanks Chickpea. It's all done on a tight budget. A pot of paint works wonders! I painted the cupboard doors of my kitchen in Bristol. It was very dark wood, but recently fitted. It took a while, but I was chuffed to bits with the result.
      L x

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  19. I do love a clean, tidy house and yours looks lovely. Unfortunately I married a man who doesn't give two hoots about being tidy. Two of my children take after him, one after me. There's nothing quite so disheartening as spending hours cleaning the house only for it to be trashed in five minutes after they get home. My bedroom stays an oasis of calm during the week while David is away, though :-) Love those tulips. Sam x

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    1. Hey Sam,
      Same problem here I'm afraid. Fighting a losing battle most of the time! I've really enjoyed your latest blog posts, but am unable to comment thus far due to WordPress and me falling out over passwords etc. I have very similar thoughts and feelings about my place in the world. Sometimes content, sometimes not. I guess it's trying to strike a balance, which is easier said than done. I must sort out this password malarkey; I can't comment on Rusty Duck either.
      L xx

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  20. Eating dinner outside, how lovely. One of my favourite things to do, although it seems to happen so rarely. I totally get the Monday cleaning thing. I love restoring the house to order and genuinely feel better, lighter, happier when that has happened. Now, I do frantic speed cleaning before heading off to work. It's amazing what you can achieve in two hours. Xx

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