On The Tools Of Our Trade

By Alison May 5, 2016 5 Comments 3 Min Read

Once upon a time there was a housekeeper, lets call her Alison, who lived in a happy little gingerbread cottage and spent her days wafting around her treasure filled rooms, filling drawers with comfort, lighting candles on every surface and opening tin cans with her teeth.
Oh yes. For dear Alison was too mean to spend money on a decent tin-opener. Or a pair of garden gloves that actually prevented rosy prickles from stabbing her delicate skin. Or a broom that didn’t scatter it’s bristles as she swept. Yes, she, the silly, vain little sweetheart, was of a fur coat, no knickers temperament and justified all the gaps in her domestic life by reassuring herself that one more pretty little tchoicke could more than make up for the hours spent in Casualty having her tin-opened fingers stitched back together.
Tin openers. Good microfiber cloths. Decent blenders. Whisks that don’t bend when you use them. A vacuum that actually sucks things up. Steam cleaners that shift grub. A broom that doesn’t moult. Wooden spoons that last forever. A bottle opener that doesn’t require the strength of ten men to pull out corks. Saucepans without plastic handles. A hand held vacuum that does more than blow the dust away. And on and on and on.
All of these things and more are the tools of our trade and we do ourselves a dis-service when we do not give them the credence they deserve…
You see no amount of tchoickes or treasure can more than make up for how owning decent household tools can transform your domestic life. and though it is enormously tempting to fritter away pennies on froth and frippery, (the saga of the tin opener has been going on for YEARS in my house!), the pleasure that comes from tools that actually WORK is not to be under-estimated.
Think about it: how often have you seethed as you drag the vacuum over the carpet only to leave all those threads and nonsense behind? How wonderful would it be to own a set of artisan garden tools so beautiful you will actually WANT to look after them for the rest of your days and pass them on the youngest green fingered member of the family in the future, instead of buying a new little spade once a year in the DIY shed just because needs must before letting it go to rack and rust year in, year out. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to open a can without risking life and limb or grate garlic without shaving your fingers?
It would. It really, really would. because life is better when it isn’t hampered by teeny tiny irritations all day long. Life is sweeter when things simply work and in order to guarantee that our household tools are both reliable and long-lasting, we have to (oh darn it!) spend money on them.
Isn’t it the most awful bore? No-one wants to spend money on a posh dust-pan and brush now do they? But oh the joy of owning a cherry red metal dust pan, with a brush that hangs from a gorgeous leather loop! A dust pan and brush that will last forever, and will not need replacing every six months, as it starts to look shabby.
So yes: for a while at least it is worth spending money on the dull-stuff and making a resolution here and now to buy the best tools we can afford instead of siphoning off what could be spent on something that will do the job properly, to spend instead on another cushion for the sofa, or yet another Cath Kidston tea-pot
We don’t need all this stuff. We need tools that look attractive because care has been taken in their manufacture, and more than that: tools that actually do what they are supposed to do, so we can get on with the job in hand without wandering around our lives cursing bad design and poor manufacture.
We need, my darlings, to get our domestic priorities straight!


  1. Nic says:

    Yes, the practical necessities have to come first! I love my electric can opener and robovac. They may not be pretty, but they make my life so much easier!

  2. Susan says:

    I love the illustration and will immediately Google image the artist!

    1. Ali says:

      Thats Duane Bryers “Hilda” and she is wonderful, isn’t she! A different type of pin up.

  3. Margaret says:

    I couldn’t agree more – but it is such a pretty tea pot, sigh.

  4. dawn gilmore says:

    I love Hilda! She is so cute. For those who don’t know, Hilda was the plump heroine of a series of pin-up calendars and such.

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