Here are the things I would like to come home to after work:
- Rupert Graves holding a chilled glass of good champagne.
- A hot bath with Floris bath essence.
- A clear pathway from the door to the kitchen.
- A kitchen table with nothing on it.
I know. The whole Rupert Graves/champagne combo is just one of the many fantasies I indulge in when I grow weary of answering emails; it’s never going to happen. As for the Floris bath essence? Too expensive. But the other two? They should be achievable.
Here’s what I actually come home to:
- An over excited dog who buries his head in my crotch.
- A selection of used mugs with cold coffee dregs.
- An assault course of trainers, backpacks, sports kit and empty boxes.
- A kitchen table which could double for the bric a brac stall at a village fete.
I don’t wish to sound curmudgeonly, but I am weary now of being the only person in my house who is remotely invested in creating a calming home.
When I survey a sitting room with scatter cushions actually scattered and occasional chairs occasionally out of place, it makes my heart heavy.
The dressing of a communal living space with beer bottles and empty plates, crisp packets and lolly sticks increases my respiratory rate.
“You might be students but I am not!” I shout at my sons (hoping my husband will overhear, knowing at least one of the pieces of detritus has his name written all over it). “This is not a holding zone for the recycling!”
Looking at the kitchen table makes my head hurt. If my head was wired up to a load of brain scanning equipment, my medulla would light up like the Heathrow air traffic control tower at the sight of that table.
My wellbeing is jeopardised by living with three people who simply do not respond in the same way to clutter.
The kitchen table is the biggie. Because it itself is big at eight feet long.
Yesterday’s kitchen table findings:
- Car keys.
- Artist’s pencils.
- Phone charger.
- Boxer shorts.
- Selection of paper clips.
- Final demand for Council Tax (not mine).
- Book written by a friend’s husband.
- Copy of recipe book written by a cyclist.
- Two blue tooth speakers.
- Box of Cheerios.
- Empty box, formerly containing new dash cam.
- Empty box, formerly containing new Kindle.
- Used spoon.
- Unused spoon.
Nineteen things are on the kitchen table when I get home.
My husband and sons have walked past them all day. They can do this, adding to the accumulation, for days on end without noticing. Their brains are not throbbing on Code Red each time they pass it on the way to the fridge.
I, however, feel nauseous and dizzy.
In lieu of the glass of champagne served up by a naked Rupert Graves (did I not mention he was naked?), I stick the kettle on and get to work.
I find nineteen homes for the things. Some of the homes are close by. *The Drawer and the *Bowl of General Crap for example.
I find myself thinking back to the kitchen I grew up in. It was too small to house a table and therefore my parents did not have this issue.
As I recall, very few of my friends had big kitchen tables around which the family gathered.
Kitchens were places in which children were generally unwelcome. Think back to those public service announcements warning of the dangers of tipping over pans of boiling water or fat.
In the eighties, the breakfast bar represented the cutting edge in kitchen design.
People met for Grape Nuts in the kitchen and ate their fashionable, time-saving, TV dinners (hot from the microwave) in front of the telly in the sitting room.
I get the appeal. You can’t get as much clutter on a breakfast bar. Maybe this is the answer.
Mind you, it would make the second part of my fantasy with the naked, champagne-fuelled Rupert Graves pretty tricky…
* See ‘Bowled Over: My Life in Bowls’