Of all the many things at which I’m utterly useless, I think housework tops the list. I absolutely hate it, more even than I hate undercooked egg, and just as I never touch an egg unless the white is solid, so I never touch housework unless a gun is held to my head.
Consequently, when we are expecting visitors, I plunge into a panicky state, up to my ears in animal hair, tools, fluff, cobwebs, weeds, jumbled drawers, crumpled bed linen, heaps of unironed clothing, and every kind of mess imaginable. I run around like a blindfolded chicken, wringing my hands and moaning softly, wondering how on earth to get it under control.
That’s what I’ve been doing all last week, and all of this week so far, with little to show for it. The garden which almost looked manicured 10 days ago has reverted to its usual jungular state; there’s a fine layer of sawdust over most of the house where TOH has been finishing off a number of small building projects started, and abandoned before completion, some years ago.
The reason for this flurry of unusual activity is that the wonderful daughter arrives on Sunday, with a couple of her friends, to stay for a week. We see far too little of her, so this is a momentous occasion which we are ecstatic about. Everything has to be perfect. It won’t, of course. I’m realist enough, and experienced enough to accept that – but it certainly won’t be from want of trying on our part.