Housekeeping Memoirs

Yesterday…I had the whole afternoon off. I used it to clean every inch of my little nest. I enjoyed myself so much (yes that’s right – I LOVE CLEANING!) that I wanted to write a post about it. But instead I found one of my first ever posts and decided it was time to share it with you again!

Cleaning Equipment

If only everyday of housework could go so smoothly….Often you get everything together and enter the room where you are due to work….but low and behold: a leak from a water tank, or someone has accidentally flung baked beans or raspberry jam against the wall, or one time, I had a pair of legs sticking out of the door…turned out the occupant was feverish with some horrible infection and had been in bed with nothing but a sheet over him, he had got up to use the bathroom, and collapsed onto the floor – guess who was cleaning on the floor where he lived that morning!  So, I didn’t get to do any work because I spent the morning being first-aider and getting help so we could get him to a Doctor.  But today…aaaaah!!!!!….no disturbance, no interference, nothing has one wrong or slowed me down today.  Wonderful!!!!

ruiegdfhlahOh the life of a housekeeper!  I have had a very pleasant morning so far and had lots of time to think of you.  The rest of the day should be easy.  I have done so much work already in this house.  I am just going to give the kitchen a refresh and clean the big windows because there have been some children firing water pistols all week, so I decided to leave them until the last point before the family get back tomorrow.  Then I am going to clean the washing machine and tumble dryer out and clean the hoovers and just basically leave everything sparkling including my equipment.

As a housekeeper you see all sorts!!!!  Some young men seem to be oblivious to the horrors they leave for their cleaner / housekeeper to find.  I have been trained as a house-holder that if a toilet is in too bad a state, there is no need to clean it, and some house-keepers even leave notes to point to the fact that they are refusing to clean something due to a lack of consideration on the part of the occupant.  I am not too bothered.  I have cleaned medical facilities, sports stadiums, concert arenas…I have seen worse things in those locations than I have in a client’s own home.  I would rather just clean it and move on with my life than enter into the shame game or go into battle with an occupant / client.

Not Hear, Not See, Do Not Speak, FunnyDid you know housekeepers can play tricks on their occupants?  Not all of them.  It all depends on the rapport you have with your client!  We might deliberately turn all of the pictures upside down.  Nothing too valuable mind!  If an occupant has a shopping list or a “to-do” list stuck to their fridge it is very tempting to add comic items to the list.  We might move toys and unbreakable items and set up a comedy scene – as I am doing at one house I clean in the boy’s bedrooms (I have such fun rearranging their toys.  Last time I cleaned their room, I had one of the teddies reading an encyclopaedia, and a “my little pony” is chasing “Darth Vader”.)   The boys come home from school and they love to see what I have done to their toys.

But some of my house-keeping friends are really crazy in the stunts they pull…only because they trust their clients will laugh when they find out their house-keeper has pranked them.  One of my friends removed all of the lightbulbs from the entire apartment she had cleaned including the spares in the utility cupboard.  So, when the male occupants came back when it was dark – they had to use their phones to see around that night.

Housekeepers have used various props, including mannequins (the old chestnut of leaving a life-size figure in an occupants bed with just a blonde wig visible.  What else?  Malt loaf – don’t read this if you have just had dinner.  Malt loaf can be moulded into various shapes and left in the toilet and then a pretend note of outrage can be left – poor client!!!!  One of the worst housekeeper tricks I saw involved a pair of boxer-shorts and Nutella.  I am sorry, the details are far too gross to tell you the full story!!!

What else?  Housekeepers often show a lot of love by folding towels into flowers or animals, and folding toilet paper to look pretty.  We try to spruce things up wherever possible.  I must say I love to have a laugh with the girls but I couldn’t play any horrid tricks on any of my clients.  I am too worried about someone having a really bad day and being overwhelmed – a practical joke might seem fun and completely innocent – but for many years I have realized that some people are incredibly delicate / fragile and you don’t know….I mean how could you know?  We can’t read what is going on in someone else’s mind.  Instead, I often like to imagine my client or occupant has had a terrible day and is exhausted and stressed out and comes home to find their place is beautiful and sparkling and so much love and thought has been poured into the housekeeping of their home.

If you have a lot of love and a lot of giving in your heart, housekeeping is a wonderful role because you can pour love into your work. Personally…I love to make things sparkle. For that reason I especially love cleaning bathrooms and kitchens.

Kitchen, Cooker, Cooking, House, Eating

Fame Is So Fickle

successJim Adams, aka Newepicauthor, the creator of A Unique Title For Me, is hosting SONG-LYRIC-SUNDAY and this week he has chosen the theme: A SONG THAT INCLUDES SOMEBODY FAMOUS IN IT

Fame, famous people…if you could see my facial expression when I think of those words, you would not need read any words expressing my distaste for the whole fame thing. I just do not like the inflated disproportionate attention, exaltation and glory given to humans for what is often diddlysquat in the grand scheme of things. And when someone who has been given that “limelight” behaves like an eeeed-yat, I have very little sympathy for them.

almost famous.jpgWhy do people seek fame? Search me! I guess they may feel it will open up opportunities to lead a more exciting life, perhaps to escape a perceived monotony, whilst treading the proverbial hamster wheel, working to “make ends meet”. From my own experience and that of my more well known friends (famous if you like), fame is not much fun at all.

Anyway…I digress. It is SONG-LYRIC-SUNDAY! And my choice today features a voice-over by a famous politician. Yeah. Anyway, if you have never heard of him, that is because fame is so fickle. Ken Livingstone was the politician (I don’t have anything else to tell you about him I am afraid), and the band was Blur. The song “Ernold Same” is I suppose about the perceived monotony of his life.

Anyway…life should not be monotonous. If you are trapped in an Ernold Same life…take some time out to observe creation. The commercial system is monotonous and demanding to be sure, but this planet and it’s incredible creatures are exquisite and enthralling. Take time to connect with what will remain forever. Breathe in life, joy and purpose – it will help you endure the temporary state of things.

Ernold same awoke from the same dream in the same bed at the same time
Looked in the same mirror made the same frown
And felt the same way as he did every day
Then Ernold same caught the same train at the same station
Sat in the same seat with the same nasty stain next to same old what’s his name
On his way to the same place to do the same thing again and again and again
Poor old Ernold same

Oh Ernold same, his world stays the same
Today will always be tomorrow
Poor Ernold same, he’s getting that feeling once again
Nothing will change tomorrow

 

The Shocking Discovery That My Grandfather Was A Vlogger!

We sadly lost my Grandfather a couple of months ago.  He was an intellectual giant.  I will tell you more about him in another post.  Today I want to share a discovery we made after his death, one that surprised and sort of amused us.  I guess I have already given the game away in the title of this post.  Allow me to explain more about my Grandfather and how he entered the vlogging community.

Since we lost my Grandfather, I have been recollecting our many visits to the home he and my Grandma lived in.  Playing on my mind is my perception of him when we were little ones.  I remember him giving me my first taste of whiskey when I was a little girl…and I am sure my Dadda objected, but Granddad (who was difficult to restrain) said it is good for little children to get used to alcohol so they don’t go off the rails with it later in life.

I remember he would ask us questions and then he would throw back his head and chuckle at our responses.  He would always encourage our learning and recommend that we read more.  He was a “perpetual student”….completing one degree after another.  He loved history, the classics, the romantics, literature, poetry.  I would sit at his feet and he would recite from memory some Tennyson or Milton or a poet I had never heard of…he was quite remarkable academically.  I have recollections of countless occasions when we have received lectures from my Grandfather on history, politics, classic poetry, literature or art.

Just after my Grandfather died, I had the notion I would type his name into an internet search engine.  Imagine my shock at the discovery that at the age of 89 he was a vlogger.  Not just any vlogger.  Tens of thousands of people from all over the world have been following his posts.  I only started blogging three weeks ago.  My Grandfather has been secretly blogging and vlogging for years.  Nobody in our family knew he was a famous vlogger.

I have just watched one of his video posts.  He is sitting in a creaky chair which is apparent every time he moves.  I can see he is either struggling with his memory or just thrown by the camera.  Yet it reminds me of my Granddad…it brings back memories of all the times I have sat at his feet and heard many such discourses from him.  He had a library in his attic….but the library spread and eventually has consumed the entire house.

ancient-books

My Granddad was quite a man!  He was a big character.  He may have upset more than a handful of people in his time….but he has thrived on debates and stretching his mind.  He enjoyed life.  He enjoyed food and wine.  He enjoyed travel.  He loved learning.  He loved books, he has a house packed full of them.  He loved my granny.

Grandfather loved a good argument.  When I finally realized that I came to terms with his behaviour.  For years he had caused me great anxiety because he seemed to upset people.  My lovely Dad was sometimes really provoked my him.  One of my younger sisters was very offended by him.  My Aunt Janine was so infuriated by him she refused to visit him.  But when it became apparent to me that he argued with his neighbours, he argued with the milkman, he battled with the council about the lean-to which was more of a garage he put up on his drive, he fought with the local education authorities over my aunt’s education, he constantly sparred intellects with my uncle and my brother, he seemed to look for any subject to debate on…well yes, I could see he was thriving on the chance to stimulate his mind with a good argument.  I never allowed him to offend me.

I saw granny shaking her head and telling him he was being naughty and then when their best friend Jilly (a business woman and a bit of a bombardier) would come to visit she would have a big hearty debate with him and both Jilly and my Grandfather would end up with huge jolly guffaws…the rest of us were lost, we had no idea what they were talking about half of the time and whether we could take them seriously.

My mum is as mild as milk.  She has grown up with his larger-than-life character.  It fascinates me to see how he has influenced her.  She was just as shocked as I was when I showed her my Grandfather’s video posts.  At the end of many posts there are comments from intellectuals who have watched his vlog and have perhaps voiced a different opinion.  It created an opportunity for Granddad to have a fresh argument.  We can read the debates he has been having with students and professors and writers from many countries.  He must have loved it!

It is quite remarkable that he had a secret life as a famous vlogger all this time that we never knew about.  Just think, now that he is no longer with us, whenever we want to think about him we can watch one of his video posts and listen to his lecture.

 Famous

Those For Whom Fame Does No Favours

I don’t know what I am wearing today….it was still a bit dim when I grabbed some clothes out of the wardrobe and I have ended up looking like a mix between a nursery teacher, a leprechaun and a lollipop lady.  I wonder what that delivery man thought of my outfit when I answered the door.  It wouldn’t be too bad if I hadn’t have grabbed the jade green cardigan because it felt chilly this morning….too many bright contrasting colours going on here….

Wouldn’t it be horrible to be famous and open the newspaper to find a hideous photograph of yourself opening the door to a delivery man whilst wearing a dreadful combination of colours…all because you were on your own cleaning the house all day?  I am very glad life is so simple at the moment.

I am content here.  Life is simple, uncomplicated.  But my life is so different to the one I led before the morning I woke up in an ambulance heading to a nearby hospital.  I had a very exciting career and was involved in major international projects.  I was interacting with hundreds of people on a daily basis.  Life was jam-packed full of important tasks and people.

Camera.jpg

I am not famous, I am not remotely important….but the work I was involved with was….I was in a role for a long-time which was very much involved with “the public” and in various projects I ended up in high profile situations and have worked with and socialized with men who are regularly in the lime-light, some on TV shows, or asked to appear at large public events and give speeches, some with weighty executive responsibilities – having to make decisions or even those involved in judicial functions. None of my associates or colleagues were well known for anything trivial, but for quite serious stuff.  Men of great prominence and import.  They all put in long long hours and are never paid “over-time”.  I think people would be surprised at how petty a financial return these men actually receive.

All have a reputation to be worried about.  Not for their own sake.  These men, if they did something seriously wrong…well they would likely resign (or be dismissed) and then then would have to find another situation.  But this is very very rare.  They are men of integrity otherwise they wouldn’t have been attracted to these demanding and self-sacrificing roles.  But there is a risk of them doing something that would limit their freedom of speech and the effect of their hard work.  A risk despite them taking it seriously that they should be excellent role-models.  When you work with and socialize with imperfect people who are trying with all their might to do something really marvellous, they are making sacrifices and working tirelessly and all because they care so much about those they are helping.  You have to keep your mind fixed on that…they are imperfect, but they are trying really hard to make a difference, to uphold good. Because, with imperfect people you find…imperfections.  Of course, it’s not possible for them to shed all their imperfections.

The problem is…they are in the public eye, under constant scrutiny.  There are some within the media and some of the public who love nothing better than becoming aware of and exposing the failings and mistakes of others. Especially people who have a reputation as…well, as being renowned for their noble deeds, their insightful decisions and trustworthiness.  The pressure on these men can be enormous.

Take this situation for example….one of these men in his fifties…he travels around the world and is always working.  He visits a lot of projects and conferences and because he truly is interested in people he walks around and meets local people.  But in this day and age – what do people want?  They want a selfie with him.  So, he has a queue of people with cameras.  Amongst those hankering after him, are beautiful young women.  It is not uncommon for him to receive propositions and proposals of marriage from beautiful women, some half of his age.  He is not physically in the best of shape (I am being kind) as he has little time to exercise and a lot of his work involves sitting in very long meetings and he travels for long hours.  But nonetheless, these women think he is a catch.  He is a man in a position of great trust.  He is devoted to giving his best within his role and the responsibilities he carries.  He feels at this point he is better able to be effective if he is not anxious for the emotional and other needs of a woman, so he is trying not to be distracted.  He knows these women would not be interested in him if it were not for his being in the lime-light because of the enormous responsibilities he has been entrusted with.  Some of these women might have a very misled idea about his life being glamorous or financially rewarded.  Imagine one of these beautiful women takes a selfie with him and the picture is misused.  Well…!

Sometimes….a person’s desire or request for privacy may be nothing to do with fearing they have anything sinister or disgraceful they want to hide.  They may be naturally and normally a very open people person who is happy to share themselves with others.  In some cases, they might just want to be able to get on with the work that is so important to them without fear of a camera catching a moment of tiredness or thoughtlessness and then publishing it for the whole world to judge or mock.  The issue is the attitude of people (press and public) who seem to be endlessly entertained by trivial things, a fascination with what a person drinks, all the things they might do in their spare time, any clues about a budding romance…it goes on and on.

So these men (and women) might find it hard to ever feel “off-duty”.  Of course, they are utterly dependant on their close associates to understand that when they see their imperfections up close….to expose these could have a detrimental effect on the invaluable work they are doing.

There is always going to be a little pocket of my life that I have to be very selective and careful when referring to…simply because I have seen great men be brought down by merciless media and puerile public.  I care too much, far too much about the great work they are doing.  If I relate an experience it will generally to be to make a point, I try not to use them for entertainment value.  But in doing so I am always feeling cautious that I might carelessly be including a detail that seems perfectly innocent to me, but someone else might pick up on it and see it as a way to inflict some damage.

I care for these men.  Not romantically.  But I have seen them up close, and yes, they are imperfect, but I believe they are worthy of all the support and loyalty those like me who have worked with them on projects and socialized with them can muster.

There are some men and women who are in high profile roles, they work tirelessly, they are passionate about what they do…I know many who are amongst those for whom fame really does no favours.

Famous