Monday 17 November 2014

Will to Scour

One of the drawbacks of housewifery in the attic of a three hundred and thirty year old house is the lack of hot water. For some reason unknown to me, we do not have hot water in the kitchen on demand. Although there is always hot water in the bathroom, one can only be absolutely sure of hot water in the kitchen at 9 AM and at 5 PM. However, there is a button to push to request more hot water, and usually there is hot water at 10 PM, too.

So imagine my horror when there was no hot water after 5 PM on Saturday evening, and none after 5 PM on Sunday evening either. On Saturday evening, we had four people to supper, and on Sunday afternoon we had four people to lunch, and this meant an awful lot of dishes.

On Saturday evening, I scraped the plates and rinsed everything and discovered, quite by chance, that there was hot water at 1 AM. So, mindful that I had to cook for Sunday lunch the next morning, not to mention that looking  at a dirty kitchen is among my least favourite ways to begin a day, I got stuck in. Washy washy washy. I went to bed at 2 AM, and was terribly grateful to my Saturday self when at 8 AM  I went into the kitchen to start the soup.

On Sunday afternoon after lunch, when all the remaining company were looking at holiday snaps of Anglo-Catholic shrines, I had a little nap. And when I woke up at 6 PM, I discovered that there was no hot water. None. Zip. And this distressed me, for I was not sure when I would have the energy again to tackle the dish-and-pot covered kitchen,  So I pushed the special button, which did not work the night before, and started boiling pots of water.

B.A. came in looking guilty and, having had a skinful, began to fuss about bits of food falling down the sink drain. I threw him out. (See pet peeve, below. It goes for washing dishes, too. Nothing that happens in the kitchen is fun. Being in the kitchen is not fun unless there are other women in the kitchen, and then it can be fun. But kitchen - other women is not fun but WORK to be ENDURED and got over as quickly, painlessly and accurately as possible.)  Boil, boil, boil, Wash, wash, wash.
Boil, boil, boil.

I got through it all through sheer momentum, and the thought of how happy I would be the next day when I saw that my Sunday self had left me a tidy kitchen. I thought a lot about the act of will, and how important acts of will are in getting anything done. And I got everything done by 9:15 PM, and returned to the sitting-room where the remaining company were now talking about the survival of traditional Catholicism in Scotland.

I went to bed at 11, and got up at 7:25. When I went into the kitchen to make coffee, I was intensely pleased with my Sunday self. And I have now finished the Monday hoovering, for which my Tuesday self will thank me.

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