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Do I really have to put up with this filth? Spring clean time

PUBLISHED: 10:11 20 March 2017 | UPDATED: 17:07 20 March 2017

Lynne Mortimer is tooled up for spring cleaning... but first, a cup of tea

Lynne Mortimer is tooled up for spring cleaning... but first, a cup of tea


The nearly-spring sunshine has affected my supermarket online order. The great tits are investigating the bird box and I am beset by the urge to buy cleaning products, writes Lynne Mortimer.

There comes a time in life, it seems, when the urgent desire to reproduce is overtaken by the need to clean under the dishwasher.

If you were to ask me in 2017 which I prefer, I would have to give it some careful thought.

Why do I have a longing to clean my house? Don’t ask me. In one newspaper article, last week, I read that if I do too much around the house it’s my own fault.

The Unmade Bed, by Stephen Marche, explores the relationship men and women have with housework and each other. “Housework is the macho b******t of women,” he writes as if it was a defining aspect of femininity. His argument continues along the lines that men won’t do more housework and so the solution must be that women should do less.

In other words, forget what’s lurking under the dishwasher, don’t run your finger along the dado rail, simply get used to living with a bit of filth by which I do not mean the well-thumbed copy of Lady Chatterley’s Lover on the bookshelf but the mucky appearance of the bookshelf itself.

Now – and this is not exactly a revelation – I live with a man. Let’s call him my husband, because he is. But (and I hope I am not putting words in his mouth... I’ll check later) he is no acolyte of this home Marchenomics guru and, in nearly 39 years of marriage, never has been.

It was established early on that neither of us liked ironing, changing beds, hoovering, scrubbing floors, and cleaning windows and so we share such detestable tasks. I hate ironing... and yet my mum used to iron socks and knickers. I’m glad I missed out on that gene.

Likewise in the garden, my husband loves pruning and planting, weeding and digging while I like to supervise by banging on the kitchen window and gesticulating where he should put his hollyhocks (novel suggestions on a postcard, please).

In the early 80s, my husband was at home with baby Ruth while I worked and he did the bulk of the housework. In the mid eighties, I took a career break and did the bulk of the housework while he went out to work. There was even a short period of time during those years when I made Yorkshire puddings from scratch.

After five years of this domesticity I think I did begin to adopt an air of martyrdom although I was hardly a beacon of cleanliness. Watching telly one evening, I was once startled by an army of ants on a route march across the sitting room floor. I was sitting on the sofa and a line of single-minded ants was disappearing under my seat cushion before filing out again and disappearing under the patio doors at the far end of the dining room. I jumped to my feet, pushed away the cushion and discovered the main attraction – half a grape down the side of the sofa.

My son is very particular about aspects of housework... it might be because he had a close encounter with a Windolene bottle when he was two. The pink ring around his mouth panicked me into taking him straight to A&E. Fast forward 16 years to when he was in the upper sixth at school and thus at home more often than not, he did a bit of housework around the place. One day, I arrived back from work to find a large notice above the kitchen sink: “Do not leave teaspoons in the washing up bowl. Mark.”

This attention to tidiness in the kitchen did not, however, stop him leaving dirty plates and tea mugs under his bed.

• I had my “give me more HRT!” appointment with the doctor, last Wednesday, but when I got to the surgery I found out she was off sick. I was told another doctor would ring me at home on Friday. This was to be my first telephone appointment with a doctor. Just as well I haven’t broken out in a rash. That’s got to be hard to diagnose on the phone.

“Where is it? Does it itch? It’s all right, you’re not on speaker.”

Police have named a 43-year-old man who died in a crash on the A140 at Mendlesham yesterday as Colin Fisk from Kesgrave.

Just weeks after the Ipswich Park and Ride service was relaunched with a new service run by First Eastern Counties, part of its site at Copdock Mill has been put up for sale.

An accident involving a motorbike and car on the A14 near the Orwell Bridge was resolved with little disruption and no major injuries.

A Suffolk footballer who lost both his legs in a horrific hit and run crash has fulfilled his ambition of walking down the aisle on his wedding day.

The craftsman who created the thatched outdoor classroom at Christchurch which was destroyed in a fire on Monday says it was ‘gutting’ to see his work up in flames.

A 32-year-old man has appeared in court charged with deliberately grabbing a woman’s bottom in Primark.

A woman in her 70s suffered injuries after an “unkempt” man is reported to have shouted and pushed her to the ground in a Suffolk high street.

Children and parents came face-to-face with all manner of creepy crawlies at the Wildlife Family Fun Day at Holywells Park in Ipswich today.

Parents face paying “daunting” travel costs at a Suffolk secondary school after an academy trust “breached” an agreement to subsidise free transport for pupils in surrounding villages, it has been claimed.

A 48-year-old people smuggler who tried to help six illegal immigrants enter Britain through Suffolk has been jailed for four years.

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