Category Archives: Housework

Am I turning into my gran?!

A beautiful sunny day beckoned. A Bank Holiday, no less, so no obligations of a Main Job nature. Or even an organist’s obligations, other than the fact I’d done a couple of hours piano practice.

But, how do I spend the day? In a gentle, relaxed fashion…. well, sort of. In a Japes’ kind of way. I have –

  • done five loads of laundry, four of which have dried outside.
  • mown the grass.
  • weeded the pocket handkerchief sized bit of garden at the front.
  • put weedkiller on the paths, front and back. (Shush…)
  • sorted out the cutlery drawer, taking out that which was here when I arrived and can now gleefully declare I have put all the landlady’s kitchen utensils away now. (It’s so nice to know everything I’m using in the kitchen is mine!)
  • cleaned the bathroom.
  • cleaned the bedroom.
  • disembowelled the vacuum cleaner and put it back together in perfect working order again. I always knew that extending pole would come in handy for something other than painting the stairwell.
  • made a list of what needs doing over the summer in the painting line. (Outside back window, and front door frame, bathroom, kitchen and stairwell woodwork. )
  • made another list of admin type jobs that need doing
  • made…..

OK.. That really is enough. I am going to have a bath, get the beautifully air dried laundry in, and relax for the rest of the evening now.


Didn’t quite go to plan…

The summer, that is! I was going to do lots and lots of piano practice,  finish the decorating, give the house a thorough clean and do a certain amount of gardening. Maybe even beginning to tackle the Bottom of the Garden. Normally, we do not speak of this. I keep muttering it is all a good security device.

I did do lots of piano practice. I think it’s fair to say I’ve re-established the habit of practising again.. maybe not as strongly as it should be, but it’s getting there.

The decorating, frankly, didn’t happen. It can wait a little longer.

The garden did sort of happen, but my landlady had other plans. Unfortunately when was convenient for her, was not for me, but what she wanted doing had to happen, and I worked around it. (It’s mostly why the decorating didn’t happen – when I’d planned to do it was the only time she could do what she wanted in the garden,  Not aided by the fact I wanted to finish the gloss work in the kitchen, and access to the garden only happens through the kitchen…And, of course, it all took longer than she’d optimistically kept telling me it would……. oh, you get the idea.)

The house did get a jolly good clean, mostly. That could have been for two reasons. The first is because I lost a bank statement, and in turning the house upside down to find it, cleaned various places out. The second  is I’ve had several house guests.

On the other hand, I got away a couple of times, I slept lots, I have the most detailed spreadsheet for dealing with work hours next year. (The hours debacle is, again, one of those matters of which we do not speak. It did not make for a restful month of July. Suffice it to say, I was right. )

I am deeply miffed that the weather is now glorious, when I return to term time work.

In many ways, the new timetable is a lovely one and gives me some leeway when I’m likely to need it next year. There is a huge amount of practical work, and a lot less classroom based work. I will be returning some PPE to the office. I’ll need aprons, but have decided I’d rather use my own, as I do with boots and overalls, as I will use them at home. I have some reservations about some of the work, but need to see how it goes.

But, I am going to have a lazy rest of the weekend now, and enjoy it!

Whirlwind 48 hours

I have managed to be at the Eucharist without either crying,(as unobtrusively as possible – I hate, hate, hate crying in public, so this happening almost every week for what’s felt like forever has not been pleasant) having an inner tantrum about something, or wanting to storm out part way through. I still am unable to be sociable before and after, but this is progress… Whilst I am liking the church of a different denomination I’m currently going to most regularly, when all is said and done, it’s not home. I am an Anglican, and to have felt so un-at-home at church for so long has been most uncomfortable

Then today has included some scaffolding going up, the sad demise of a neighbour’s cat in my garden, (we think she was hit by a car, but not badly enough to die instantly, and this was where she crawled to to die. She had made all the gardens along here her territory.) and the decennial sorting of the address book.

Tomorrow will, hopefully, be a quiet, tranquil day – oh, apart from the shopping, getting the months travelcard, ironing, and cleaning out my pencil case. For, then I’m back to work.. Frankly, I think it will be a rest cure after the last couple of months!

Being well adjusted.

So far, so very good. On the new glasses front, that is. I make no claim to be well adjusted in any other area of life at the moment.

After an initial “Um, is this right?” moment, as I did not like what I was seeing, before I realised there were some strange markings on the lenses which the nice young lady would remove as soon as she’d checked I was basically OK, I seem to have taken to varifocals with remarkable ease and rapidity. I did worry the optician by saying I was leaving them on! “But, that’s not a good idea…” I promised to be careful, to watch steps and kerbs, and that I wasn’t driving home. I do prefer to get going straight away with new glasses!

Sadly, I now realise how out of focus I really have been for quite a while now… a second spring clean has been deemed necessary. Which is a bit of a pest – though I have done one or two small cleaning  tasks when I spotted they needed doing!


I’ve been most traditional these last few days.

In that Saturday was spent spring cleaning the house from top to bottom, today has mostly been spent on a DIY task (which might have made a bit of a mockery of the spring clean, apart from the fact I realised this was going to happen, and only gave the sitting room a quick lick and a promise, so to speak! It will get it’s end of term mammoth clean another day this week, when the varnishing is finished.)  and listening to the Classic FM annual count down of the nations favourite pieces.

Then, I had a moment of wondering about those pieces… and did a quick analysis.

  • Can play (on piano, clarinet or organ) 17 of them! In the case of the two organ pieces, I’d need a bit of time to get back into practice again, and I’d not want to play some of them without a bit of notice.. but play them I can or could!
  • Have sung, as part of a choir, 9 of them.
  • Have played in the orchestra for 7 of them.
  • Have played arrangements of parts of an awful lot of them on piano, clarinet and in orchestras. (I lost count at 30.)
  • Have studied 10 of them for O or A Level or first degree level.
  • Squinted at 5 of them and thought “Never heard of that one!”
  • Muttered darkly at the few pieces I dislike. Surprisingly few, even Beethoven’s Violin Concerto seems to have grown on me over the years. Though, sadly Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto has to be turned off these days if it’s the slow movement. not because I hate it, but because it’s so overplayed and I don’t want to hate it.
  • Would love to be able to play a good number of the concerti. (If I ever learn another instrument, it would be the cello, for the Dvorak Cello Concerto.)

I was traditional about a few other things since Maundy Thursday as well, but that’s for another day.

I might need saving from myself

Dear Lord,

I know I was in definite need of some oomph and energy to return. But for housework?!?!

Yes, I have been playing loud music, and doing lots and lots of odd chores all morning… and am enthused for the afternoon’s tasks of cleaning the bathroom and kitchen. The recycling has been attended to, the  last six months worth of paper is dealt with, and the shredable stuff is sitting in the hot water, being rendered unreadable (works remarkably well in the absence of a shredder, but somewhat messier.)

Mind you, the facts are that it’s raining, I have chocolate in the house,  I’m up to date with paperwork from work and I have no coursework corrections and amendments to do. (How dare my tutor take away my reason for delaying the chores for another week with the words. “Oh, easily at the highest level. Nothing more to do.”)

I am now sat down, and in time-honoured fashion, having a coffee and blogging break from said chores. A most satisfactory state of affairs.


Nothing like a good  cleaning session and clear out to sooth the Japes’ soul when all around is seemingly about to implode! I think it’s something to do with the fact I can’t do anything about that for another fortnight, so rather than worry, taking my mind off it with an early spring clean seems to be the way out of the despondency that had settled in for the duration.

Though, I am noting that a really thorough sort out and cleaning of the Japes’ domain is taking nowhere near as long as it used to – yet I am sure I am spending far less time on matters domestic than I have previously done in the past. I am doing very little work from home now, so whilst I still have some, the paraphernalia surrounding that work has all gone. Well, apart from a couple of boxes of bits and pieces – and it’s easily contained, unlike times of yore when hours could be spent puzzling over just how it was all going to fit in my room out of other people’s way.

This, of course, could be part of it! It’s all less of a burden than it used to be for lots of other reasons, now I think about it.  No more fitting in around other people’s ideas of how cleaning (or other matters domestic) should be done, when it should be done, and what should be done. I tend to do a job when I see it needs doing now,  and seem to keep on top of the day to day stuff without too much stress.

I’m also no longer hoarding things on a “This will come in handy,  for someone, one day” basis.  The last two pairs of jeans I’ve been keeping for years on the grounds I will fit into them one day have just been brought into use, as has the last lot of toiletries. (You have no idea how chuffed I am about the jeans!!) A large bag of bits and pieces for the charity shop is sitting awaiting my next wander up to the shops. As is a bag of clothes for recycling. (Yep, all too big!!)

Mind you, I do still have to be brave, sometime, and ditch the cassettes and videos….

More Redefining of Japes’ Life

It’s been a week away from work, at the end of a pretty exhausting seven weeks of new tasks, and what I really needed was a week’s sleep. So, what did I do? That’s right, go and help some friends with a major clearing out and packing and downsizing process, that was due to finish today. (I did from Monday until Friday.)

I helped fill two skips, (probably more like three, but some stuff vanished in the process… odd that.) loaded up a large van load  and large car load of items for recycling, was seen to be wandering with several lists attached to me, and praying fervently that the right stuff got to the right place, found some things that had remained hidden for more years than any of us want to think about, and helped eat up copious amounts of food!!! Meals were filling, but occasionally rather unusual.

It’s the end of many, many eras, for me, for my friends, for the locality in which they lived.

For me, I’m hopeful that the horridness of the last few weeks in my own life were mostly related to some unfinished stuff around all this process, which has taken a very long time … partly, it has to be acknowledged, through my own dragging my heels. I need not have done any of what I did, either this week or in August , but as I said then, a lot of emotional rubbish got put in the skip then, and even more went this time. It’s been a peculiarly Japes’ way of moving forwards.

It also meant that I had no energy for more than one shopping expedition today! I used it all up on the major restock of the larder and freezer.. a second trip, for t-shirts, socks and shoes was Foolish. I realised when I was losing the will to live in the third purveyor of t-shirts that persisting in this was going to end badly. I am grateful I was Domestic Goddess par excellence last weekend, and am very organised in the laundry and housework departments. Ah, apart from the Losing My Favourite Chopping Knife Episode in the black hole under the sink unit, (which is what prompted the second expedition, as I couldn’t get a replacement on the first trip).

So, I will be very lazy from now until 5.30 a.m. on Monday morning, and revive my soul with food of my choosing, gentle reading, pleasant music, and moving no further from the settee than other rooms in the house as required.


to so many things at the moment including ..

  • the return of church being a difficult place to be again.,
  • sheer exhaustion most of the time. But, this has been the first weekend I’ve managed to do something other than a little light housework, essential shopping, slob on the sofa, catch up on sleep and sheer resentment by 5.00 p.m. on Sunday Evening at how fast two days off have been going,
  • continuing uncertainty on so many fronts.

I am also resigned to having to do a course, at a level much lower than I am capable of doing, just to tick a few boxes. (though, quite how it ticks the “up-skilling” box is slightly beyond all of us. However, it’s not actually down-skilling.) I am in danger, however, of not passing it from lack of motivation! There may be more on this matter around February!

On the positive side, there have been some very funny moments at work over the last few weeks, including the Best Ever Guilty Conscience moment I’ve seen at work (and I work with teenagers….), my sticker for “Being Good and Sitting Nicely” from the nursery, the moment in A&E when I was heard to be telling a Shakespearean tale to a lad who didn’t know the story (which entertained the nurses as well). Oh, and walking into the Techies’ office with the most creative reason they’ve ever heard for requesting a new e-mail address, (normally impossible to get, which has also totally confirmed the view of those who work there that my second role department are completely bonkers)  – but it was worth it just for the looks they gave me, and the knowing smile from the one person who understood just why I was citing the Archbishop of Canterbury in the reason.

There have also been some moments of sheer God-incidences, where I’ve been in exactly the right place at the right time. I may have thought what I did all that particularly awful day was a complete waste of time and effort, but it was well and truly used to make a really difficult situation much easier. And, some of the stuff I did last year is also paying off.

Still, no-one ever promised this big decision stuff was ever going to be easy, and, on balance, it’s been easier than it might have been – and there is no way I would ever go back to where I was two/three years ago. When I remember that, all the rest is OK.

It’s going to be such an exciting week..

Post title to be read very sarcastically.

In theory, (the official deadline for this work is Wednesday Morning) I need to get more work done in the next 48 hours than there are hours available. In practice, (the real deadline is Monday week) I’m probably spending the next five days being very stern with myself, and reminding myself it’s my Own Fault I will be working almost non-stop for the next five or six days.

I have done a fair chunk of it this afternoon and evening, though, and have more confidence that once I get down to it tomorrow, that it should be fairly straight forwards. Extremely boring, though.

Fast forwards three days!

In the meantime, I am feeling remarkably smug that the hard slog part of the work has been done, and I am just taking a break from putting it into one format, and doing a bit of creative messing about with the form to go with it all..

It’s amazing how urgent the need to wash the kitchen floor became during the worst of the hard slog. I valiantly resisted, and have only just succumbed to the lure of domesticated procrastination. It’s nice and shiny now.

But, I am really sitting down to recover from the Health and Safety Hazard Awareness Course my house has become over the last three days. Honestly, you’d never believe I have a Certificate telling me I’m Very Good at this stuff… not now I have just had to go and change my coffee sodden jeans,  put jeans and the slightly less sodden throws from the settee into the wash, had to wash the carpet, and make a fresh cup of coffee. Oh, and put clean jeans on.

  • I have two or three chairs in my kitchen with sticky-out bits on the legs, to enable said chairs to be linked together.
  • I moved said chairs to the doorway between the kitchen and sitting room to enable a clear kitchen floor.
  • I duly washed floor, and decided to sit down to enjoy my coffee, but it involved wriggling past the chairs in the doorway, and trying not to trip on the various wires of computer, printer, and ethernet cable also in the doorway – I have moved all this stuff temporarily to the kitchen/dining area as it’s the biggest table to work at, and still be connected to the internet. (I’ve not got wireless…)
  • I avoided cables, they were all neatly tucked up off the floor, and against the door, but failed to avoid the sticky-out bits of chairs.
  • This is because being shorter of leg than most jeans manufacturers are prepared to admit exist, and lacking in enthusiasm for sewing, jeans are turned up!
  • Turn up on jeans, meeting sticky-out bit of chairs, confused Japes, hot cup of coffee…

Sighs. It’s been a while since I’ve had quite such a dramatic moment. Which will teach me to be sarcastic about the excitements I thought this week was going to contain.