Housekeeper's Diary

By Alison October 17, 2018 2 Comments 4 Min Read

I am in hiding.
The window-cleaners are due and they are CHATTY MEN. Men who want cups of teas and plates of cake and biscuits and though I can usually be relied upon for such matters (and there is indeed a mighty fine slab of Parkin in the cake tin), today my ability to make small talk about the weather has gone the same way as my ability to dress in a way suitable to meet my public – down the swanny, as they say around these parts.
I do so adore a good colloquialism.
So yes. I am hiding in my boudoir, making the most of my self-imposed exile by doing Viparita Karani against the wardrobe, while reading the latest, supermarket-acquired Joanna Trollope and snuggling my top half in my very favorite slubby blanket. It would be. I suspect, a sight for sore eyes, but one of the bonuses of being a stay at home kind of person is that on moody, periody days like this one I can close the bedroom curtains, light every candle I own, pop socks with pompoms on my freezing toes, and pretend the rest of the world has gone to hell in the proverbial handcart.
Today I have eaten a slice of Burgen toast topped with warm potted shrimp and I have drunk SIX cups, nay mugs of mint tea from a little floral tea-pot beckoning me all over again from my bedside-table (Though she who owns as many varieties of tea as I do, should not practice favoritism, I must confess to being most partial to a good cup of peppermint when I am in need of a poky jolt of perkiness).
There are of course things I should be getting on with. There is, after all, a bunch of wrapped gladioli, the color of dried blood, abandoned on the table, vase-less and unloved. I should arrange them and I will, of course, I will, once the cassoulet is in the oven and the towels are folded in the tumble-down laundry room. There are flapjacks to be baked, a fridge to wiped clean, and the pile of leaves below the step at the front-door has got utterly out of hand and must be dealt with before we are thoroughly and wholly leaf-ed in.
Then there is the weekend to be organized. A weekend we will spend in Gloucester, with my family, celebrating my Dad’s seventieth birthday. Can he really be seventy? It seems doubtful for he is so very young. Still with a full head of hair. Still hilarious. But gather we shall, and for that, I need to pack clothes, organize food to take with us, leave the house tidy. Because the place we will stay in for the celebration will be lovely, and there is nothing quite so miserable as holidaying somewhere delightful and coming home to chaos now is there?
Now there is banging at my bedroom windows. A clatter as the window cleaner moves his ladder from one of my windows to the next. I stay stone-still, irrationally frightened in case he pops a hand through the glass and pulls back the curtains in order to pass the time of day. Though I am pretty certain he would fall straight off his ladder if he could see the rather eccentric combination of clothes and hair I am sporting, one cannot take any chances.
Ten more minutes and I can go downstairs again. On the way, I will pick up the rubbish Ste keeps rather mysteriously abandoning on top of the linen cabinet, and drag Finley’s overflowing laundry basket down the stairs. Downstairs I will slice chorizo and turn onions into treacley bliss to the tune of Crystal Gayles Greatest Hits. Yup, Crystal is the way I’m rolling today. She appreciates my accompanying warbles, and I get to thrust every emotion I’ve got into singing along to her melancholia. It’s a win for both of us.
Ten more minutes and I can add a floppy, cozy cardigan to my ensemble and pop a pinny over the whole shebang. I can get busy in the kitchen and potter about when a recipe demands a natural break. I can go into the garden and cut the last of Finley’s sunflowers, so I can hang them to dry and he can keep them for always. I can hound Instagram (my new obsession after too many years half-heartedly posting hither and thither), join in in in the family Whatsapp chat, and avoid reading the news for a person who deliberately listens to Crystal Gayle has clearly got enough to deal with.
Ten more minutes till freedom! For heaven’s sake, was there ever a woman more ridiculous than I? She who crawls around her own bedroom floor in an effort to avoid small-talk is a sit-com all by herself. Ridiculous but happy. Happy doing yoga in my twinkly bedroom. Happy singing country songs while stirring golden syrup into oats. Happy meditating, wrapped in a blanket in my armchair. Happy waiting for my horde of two to return home so we can close the door on a blowy day, light our pumpkins and settle down for the final few episodes of the terribly good Haunting of Hill House.
Happy, happy, happy.


  1. Alison says:

    I keep hearing about this Hill House thing. Must investigate. I have a massive pile of books and blu-rays still to get through, why not add more to the list. I tell myself Winter is on its way, plenty of time to read and watch. How much you want to bet I barely make a dent in it? I totally get the need for solitude and the occasional abhorrence for contact with any other creature, save family (and not even them sometimes!) or the squirrel(s)? I can’t tell if its the same squirrel or several, that are darting back and forth around the place, digging holes for the nuts their cheeks are bulging with. I did an Alison May yesterday and went to bed, totally frazzled, at 8 pm and didn’t stir until nearly 9 a.m. this morning. I feel so much better for it. I remember that advice from you once upon a time.

  2. Kelly Gabriel Guida says:

    I SO adore your writing and who you are!!
    Thank you!

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