Monday 2 March 2015

Spring Cleaning!

Benedict Ambrose told doubting me that March 1 is the beginning of spring in the UK. I argued that it begins with the spring equinox, but he stubbornly insisted that in the UK, autumn is September, October, November; winter is December, January and February; and spring is March, April and May.

Well, he's from here, so I didn't argue any further, and besides, compared to Ontario and Quebec, it most definitely feels like spring out there. The woods around the Historical House are bright with green ivy and patches of snowdrops, and they smell like the wild garlic shooting up all along the path. The wind is wuffling, but the sun is shining.

With spring comes spring cleaning, and it was with a sense of enjoyment that I  got back to housework this morning. After two and a half weeks of Canadian holiday and half a week of tending to my jet lag and airplane cold, I felt enthusiastic about getting to grips with the Historical Flat. Happily B.A.kept it as tidy as I left it (with a meticulous kitchen clean up before I arrived), which was a nice boost to my spirits. However, he is not handy with the vacuum cleaner, to say nothing of the laundry hamper, as I saw to my great amusement.

There are some women who do not allow their husbands to do any housework or cooking whatsoever. I am not among these women, but I understand their jealous hold on domestic chores. If your man has a job and does the housework, what is the point of you, eh? Since B.A. earns more than I do, I would feel rather useless if he was as good as I am about cleaning. One does not want her husband to be helpless, of course. After all, what if one died and one's widower married a cruel woman just to get his laundry done? That just would not do.  

(I have a recurring nightmare that I will die first and B.A. will marry somebody awful who will be really mean to him. He says he would go into a monastery, but I don't believe him because he thinks women are the caffeine in the cappuccino of life. I should have to try to arrange matters from the afterlife. Hopefully I could find a very nice woman with an excellent pension plan.) 

Of course, most women do not want to get stuck with ALL the domestic chores, and in traditional marriages, the wife gets the inside of the house (minus anything having to do with pipes or wiring) and the husband gets the outside of the house (minus the flower gardens, unless he likes to garden). In my case, I have not been stuck with the day-to-day cooking, for B.A. likes to cook. He cooks meat and fish to perfection, and now when for some reason I have to cook meat or fish, I get very nervous and have to call in B.A. for a consultation. However, I am a dab hand at soups and enjoy complicated puddings (i.e. desserts).

At any rate, I was brought up feeling vaguely that my father's time, which he mostly spent on class preparation, grading, research, writing and other sole-income career things, was literally too valuable to spend on dusting and vacuuming. Indeed, I was never entirely sure he knew how to do these things or to cook anything other than waffles, pancakes and jelly omelettes. And therefore it does not annoy me that B.A. appears not to have done any laundry in two and a half weeks. It doesn't even horrify me because I counted once, and I know he has over 30 shirts and over 30 pairs of socks. I could go away for a month, and he would be fine.

Well, this has been a jolly chat. But now I must go and earn some money.


  1. My Irish course keeps teaching me that autumn is August, September and October. This would never pass in some parts of Canada.

  2. March came in, more snow. Tomorrow it should be 'warmer'......freezing rain. Slush on the kitchen floor is not part of a spring clean.
    Aged P

  3. We have snow, too! It's been crazy. Bright sun, then rain, then snow, then bright sun again, then rain, then snow. No wonder my cold is worst.

  4. Ditto the snow, bright sun, snow! We hadn't more than one light dusting of snow this winter, but two weeks its snowed a considerable amount three times- every time follow by a fifty degree plus day! So ditto the cold, too. And house cleaning and article writing, neither of which I have any desire to do! This is the only time I ever really want to watch tv- and, barring that, can't I just read Lord Peter Whimsey stories, please?


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