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RAB MCNEIL: Nothing like sudden visitors to spark a cleaning frenzy. But who likes cleaning?

Rab has his own methods for house cleaning.
Rab has his own methods for house cleaning.

I wish I had an organised cleaning schedule, like regular folks. Oh, I clean the kitchen surfaces and the loo fairly regularly, and I change the bedding too, but probably not as often as I think.

Thinks: ‘Pretty sure I just changed these sheets yesterday.’ Turns out yesterday was two weeks ago.

Usually, I just give the whole house a good going over when I’ve got friends visiting. You’d think that, given my bosky location, this wouldn’t happen too often. And, of course, it didn’t under full lockdown.

But, at the time of writing at least, things are beginning to pick up again. Friends come to my local area for holidays and usually announce their surprise arrival with: “Hey, we’re here! Thought we’d just pop round to see you this afternoon.”

Dust: what is that about? It just appears…

Unless I have to put them off for reasons of work, there follows a frantic period of tidying up and even … dusting. Dust: what is that about? It just appears, and loads of it too. It’s disgraceful. Shouldn’t be allowed.

Still, at least it serves as a barometer for how long it’s been since I last tidied up. Then there’s the general untidiness, particularly books lying all over the place.

How wonderful it is to clear that untidy pile by the bed. Two days later, it’s back again. Anyone remember Bewitched? Wish I could just wiggle my nose and all the mess would tidy itself. Mary Poppins, that was another one who had a fine technique.

Cleaning. If only we could twitch our nose and it would happen, like in Bewitched.

As for actual cleaning with unguents and potions, in recent years I’ve discovered bleaches for the ever-discolouring sink. And I must confess I have a thing for wood polish. The smell from some of these takes me back to childhood.

Most people dislike cleaning don’t they?

I’m sure every generation thinks their parents’ generation was far better, or more dedicated, to cleaning. Most people I know dislike it, but often have immaculate homes. I haven’t known many who had a cleaner but, when they do, boy, what a job these folks do!

My mate’s holiday home is hellish to clean, with tiled floors and all sorts. Every time I have a shot, it ends up worse than before I started. But the lassie they get in leaves it immaculate. There must be all sorts of secrets to the trade.

There are “cleanfluencers” online who have lots of advice to impart, but I’m far too busy for that sort of thing.

Besides, while it must be nice to have cleaning for a hobby and to take it seriously, I’m afraid that for me it must always remain a chore.

The weeks pass, and good intentions fade away

That said, you do get a feeling of satisfaction when everything is tidy and sparkling. You tell yourself that you will definitely do this much more regularly. It’s healthy and, indeed, next to godliness. But the weeks pass, and the old murky chaos resumes.

Cleaning is also a form of exercise, which is another good reason for not doing it. I remember professional cleaners of my old Maw’s generation: some had bigger biceps than Schwarzenegger.

Perhaps little and often is the key to cleaning. A little wipe here and there. It’s probably better than waiting until you’ve got visitors coming.

That always wipes the smile off my face.

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