Tag Archives: cleaning


Today, I spilled some washing powder on my bedroom carpet, and before I got around to clearing it away, my daughter and twenty-month old grandson, Alex, turned up. Alex has a routine when he visits. It begins with him trying to make it to the living-room windowsill before I manage to get all my breakable objects out of the way, and then he quickly repairs to my bedroom to see what fun is to be had in there.

Today, after losing the battle of the breakable bottles, he ran quickly to the bedroom, as was to be expected. He immediately spotted the washing powder and paused to give it a disapproving look, before dashing into the kitchen, grabbing my tea towel from its home on the oven rail, and running back to the bedroom with it. He crouched down and gave the powder a quick wipe, then dropped the teatowel on top of the washing powder, thereby concealing it from view.

Job done.

Naturally, Claire and I praised him for his heroic efforts, and he looked appropriately proud of himself.

Five hours later the tea towel is still there, with the powdery mess underneath it. It’s lovely to have such a considerate grandchild to clear up after me. I’m hoping he’ll show up tomorrow and paint my bathroom. I can’t remember where I put the paintbrushes, but I’m sure the enterprising little boy will manage somehow.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Reminders to self



Kitchen is not self-cleaning

Neither is fridge

Bees don’t understand the concept of windows

Hornets get angry when I try to explain

Can’t spend the same £20 twice

Cleaning the fridge doesn’t always get rid of the smell of cheese

Have to eat the stinky cheese

Eating stinky cheese makes me stinky

Can’t go to the gym because I stink of camembert

Moths don’t understand the concept of windows either

Can’t spend the same £20 (that I tried to spend twice) three times

Find out why the dirt flies out of the hoover, under the cupdoard door and back onto the floor 21 minutes after I’ve vacuumed.

Put a note to bees, hornets, moths AND wasps on the window, explaining concept of glass

Cleaned the fridge. Kitchen still stinky

Dust on floor not dust from hoover bag. Find out where dust comes from

Hoover bag full. Empty hoover bag.

Next time be more careful.

Hoover dust back into hoover bag.

Find out about self-cleaning carpets

buy more cheese

It’s not the fridge, it’s the dishcloth

Find a language that bees, hornets, moths, wasps AND birds can read

It’s not the dishcloth. It’s the stinky cheese wrappers in the bin

What did I do with that £20 note?

Keep a beer glass and a bit of card by the window. Bees, hornets, moths, wasps and birds can’t read

Sparrows are impossible to trap in beer glasses

At night, moths fly back in, attracted by the light

Train eyes to see in the dark

Borrow £20. Pay it back when I find that other £20

buy more cheese

Maybe some milk I spilled on the floor last week splashed under the fridge

Behind cooker?

Get self-cleaning kitchen

Ditto fridge

Large yellow and black striped wasp-like thing battering window. Flying cat? Check online

buy more cheese

Clean bathroom tomorrow, after good night’s sleep

©Jane Paterson Basil


I thought I’d have a bit of fun with my writing today, so here’s a really silly romance.

”Pour yourself over me! Let me absorb your fragrant fluid!” said the dishcloth to the cleaning fluid.

”There’s only so much of me to go around, and when I’m gone, I’m gone. Why would I wish to waste my valuable time with you? There are plenty of other cloths in the cupboard,” replied the cleaning fluid.

”Life is short. Take this moment to be with me. Together we can make this house a home. We can whiz over the surfaces, delve into the crannies, sweep the cobwebs away, and make the world sparkle.”

”I suppose you’re as attractive as any other rag. You’ll do. Here goes.”

”Oh, but you are cold. I didn’t think it would be like this.”

”This is what you wanted. Stop complaining, and get on with the job.”

”But I thought if would be different somehow. What we are doing is making me feel dirty, grimy.”

”It’s the way it is. Would you prefer atrophy?”

” Oh! I’m beginning to enjoy the intimacy of us rubbing along together. I feel a kind of thrill. It no longer hurts.”

”Stop talking and let me concentrate.”



”Say something to me. Tell me you love my textures, my fibre, my solidity.”

”Your what? You are just a wet rag to me.”

”But we are together now. United. You cannot leave me now. Tell me you love me.”

”Love? We only exist to perform a function. Where does love fit into that?”

”Then go. Leave. There is no tenderness in you. I am disappointed.”

A tap turns on. Water rushes into the sink.

”Help me! Hold onto me! I feel myself dispersing, diluting!”

”I’m glad to be rid of your transience. Be gone.”

A pair of hands wrings out the rinsed cloth, and hangs it outside to dry in the healing sunshine.

© Jane Paterson Basil