The day began well. I awoke to the sound of the Lodger preparing to relocate himself and his belongings to another dwelling. He has been resident in our lounge for some time now, but I will say no more about the matter until my sense of humour with regard to that particular arrangement has been regained. At the foot of my bed Don Corleone makes sure I am awake by attacking Husband’s pants with all the rigour and determination of a wild beast. The end result is artistically distressed underwear and a content predator. Good. Invigorated by Feline Satisfaction and Lodger Eviction I plan a morning of cleaning with particular focus on the lounge.
A Deep Cleaning day demands a specially chosen outfit. Warm but not hot, comfortable but not restricting and most importantly something not entirely aesthetically repugnant. So, leggings, one of Husband’s old shirts and a headscarf then. Perfect. The shirt and headscarf combo reminds me of “Rosie the Riveter”; made famous showing her biceps in a poster encouraging woman to work in factories in WW2. Glamorous, beautiful, utilitarian and a little bit militant. If only I had her bone structure! The headscarf, apart from lending a certain servile connotation to proceedings, is also useful to protect my locks from damage from cleaning products. Nothing causes frizz quite like Mr Muscle Clean and Clear. At the end of the day I am appalled to discover that I have wood polish splattered over one half of my face and carpet cleaner over the other. I look something like the Phantom of the Cleaning Opera. Husband will not recognise me in my fetching disguise and enshrouded in the heady perfume of Domestos. I briefly entertain the idea of pretending to be someone else when he gets home, but decide that it might confuse him unnecessarily and focus on my cleaning regime instead.
It had struck me in the night that I might be able to use carpet cleaner on my unfortunate sofas. They are a pleasant oatmeal colour which, as anyone with pets or children knows, is completely impractical. Of course I had neither pets nor children at the time of purchasing said sofas, so I had no idea that they would transform them selves into grubby lumps. I should have foreseen this. This is London after all. No one in their right mind owns anything even remotely oatmeal in colour. It demands more maintenance than a bad divorce settlement. Anyway, my profound thought was that heavy duty Cillit Bang carpet cleaner might do the trick. It says on the can it’s for “high traffic areas”. Considering some of the things which have taken place on those sofas, I would consider them “high traffic” indeed. The magic cleaning agent promises excellent results and I am pleased at the thought of fresh smelling couches bearing at least a passing resemblance to their original colour. All I need to do is: vacuum all sofa surfaces, remove loose covers from cushions, wash loose covers in washing machine (twice – once after application of stain remover stuff and again because these are stubborn stains), apply foam cleaner, work into fabric with clean sponge, wait 3 hours and vacuum off. Simple. Good. I have all day. What else could I possibly think to do? First stages are completed without too much hassle. Armed with the gargantuan pink tin of Cillit Bang I assess the best point of attack. The foam ejaculates from the tin in a massive spray, a bit like a spray paint tin. Feeling like some sort of domestic delinquent I take to spraying lewd slogans on the back of my sofas. It’s oddly thrilling and I fear that I might have saturated the fabric unnecessarily with my zeal for the cleansing graffiti.
I spent the afternoon in the kitchen. No surprises there. For one thing its neat and clean and besides, the lounge is still a little…..damp. So far I have manufactured Bailey’s truffles and some meatballs for supper. Later I intend baking some of my famous marble cup cakes. I am considering using some Baileys in the vanilla mixture. Could be delicious. Or it could simply indicate latent alcoholism brought on by hours of housework and a lack of gainful employment. I originally made these cakes as part of a Grade 9 Home Economics practical. The recipe has remained a favourite since then and they were in fact the first thing I ever made for my now husband. In a flash of obscene mawkishness, I instructed our wedding caterers to make our cup cake tower to the same recipe. The kids loved it. They spent most of their time discarding the sugar flowers off the top (and grinding them into the carpet), picking the icing off like a scab, giving the exposed cake a good lick and then replacing it on the cake stand. By the time some of the more elderly guests came to have cake all that was left was a bald, slightly soggy cairn to my sentimentality. The ones I bake today will be smothered in rich chocolate icing and eaten whole – popped into the mouth decadently and munched with scant regard for proper cake related etiquette. Looking at the bottle of Baileys now, I think I might just drink it. What could be better than cake and a bottle of Baileys on a damp sofa? Not much I suspect.
PS: Word of the day: sanguine. Meaning: optimistic, cheerful. Well, I am feeling most cheerful at the prospect of cupcakes, but not nearly as sanguine as I suspect I will feel after the Baileys.