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Sunshine Brings Out the Mrs Mop in me!

This is the view from the patio doors in the study, where I sit to type my blog posts, I took this shot early yesterday morning

I don’t know about you, but spring sunshine brings out the Mrs Mop in me.  While no longer bursting with physical energy – that would be over-egging the situation – I feel mentally re-charged and longing to get on with spring cleaning.  Or rather, what amounts to spring cleaning at my age. I hate saying “at my age” but there’s no denying that I am now unable to get as much done as once I did, but hey, who cares?  I could engage the services of a cleaner but, knowing me, I’d be cleaning up before he or she arrived so that they could tackle the jobs that I or my husband find difficult to do. And if we find it difficult, then no cleaning person would tackle it either, claiming “Health & Safely” I expect.  Indeed, unless we become totally disabled, having someone in just to dust and vacuum would be a pointless and expensive exercise. What is difficult is moving our heavy bed (even on casters) to clean behind it; i.e. doing jobs that require a bit of muscle (and I don’t mean Mr Muscle cleaner, either.)

But we manage.  However, if I’m going to tackle any serious cleaning I have to do it as soon as I get up and am showered and dressed. No point in starting after I’ve cleaned up the kitchen after breakfast, filled the dishwasher, and cleaned the worktops (counter tops) down.  I’m too tired by then.  So yesterday after I’d had a warmed brioche with apricot jam and a cup of tea (husband had his usual porridge which he makes for himself) …

… I decided it was high time we moved the bed and the bedside chests of drawers and cleaned behind and under them.

When we bought our ‘new’ bed, which will be four years old this coming August, we hadn’t realized that it didn’t have any casters, just some small square ‘feet’.  I mean, how daft is that?  It meant we were unable to move it in order to clean under and behind it. So we looked online and found casters which we ordered and husband fixed them to the base of the bed (that was a job and a half, too, as it meant up-ending a heavy base after first removing an even heavier mattress.)

Even with casters it’s a heavy bed to move, and the headboard is also tall and heavy – it’s not attached to the bed, that would make the bed almost impossible to move for two elderly people – so that is just held in place against the wall by the bed itself.

First, I moved my bedside table and husband – more agile than myself – got in behind it to vacuum the carpet and wipe down the back of the chest and the skirting board.  Then that was put back into place.  Next, we did the same with his bedside chest of drawers.  And then, of course, we needed to move the bed.  Once we got it moving, that was fine, but oh my goodness, the dust!  I think husband was amazed because, whenever I suggest doing this cleaning job – it is too difficult now for me to do it on my own – he is wont to say, “But we only did it a few weeks ago!” when in fact, it must be over a year since we last moved the bed.

I was able to move the dressing chest and vacuum under that, and now the room is all clean again.

One of the small things which has needed attention recently has been our TV reception.  We don’t know why, but reception has been intermittent, the TV would flicker and go off, and we thought it was perhaps a connection at the back of the TV set.  No matter how husband tried to rectify it, this continued to happen.

And so yesterday I got in touch with an aerial chap and he called out in the afternoon to see what was the problem.  He found that we had a very weak to non-existent signal, and he spent a couple of hours putting matters right, both for the TV in the sitting room and the one in the bed sitting room upstairs.

I really don’t know the ins and outs of what he did as he discussed it with husband – I confess that talk of signals and boosters didn’t really interest me – but when by 4.30pm he’d left and we were a couple of hundred pounds lighter in our wallet, but the picture is now bright and sharp and it doesn’t disappear.

In fact, when I phoned the man, we arranged for him to come on Thursday but just as I’d started to clean the sitting room he phoned and asked if he could come right away as he had just finished a job in Goodrington, which was fairly close by.  Of course I said “Yes”, it would be lovely to have our TV picture restored and not have to wait until Thursday, but it meant he arrived while we were all at sixes and sevens.  I hope he doesn’t think we’re a grungy family, always living in such a muddle!  I know I shouldn’t care what a workman thinks, he’s here to do a job, not consider the pots in the sink or the dust on the furniture, but I do care.

But aren’t TVs ugly things? Yes, we could have a cupboard for it, but I think that would be an unnecessary expense, and while we are in the room, it really doesn’t look quite as gross as it does here, a great black hulk.  I took this photo about 8 am while I was having early morning coffee this morning and leafing through back issues of The English Home.  You can’t see that the room is now clean, but all the furniture was moved so that husband could vacuum the whole of the carpet and as the TV had been moved, he took the opportunity to clean behind it – this, as with the bed is too heavy a job to do very often.

I do love the shape of our sofa, but sadly it really needs reupholstering although that’s a job not to be entered into lightly (i.e. it’s expensive!) We bought it when we moved here in 1985. It’s by a company called Collins & Hayes and was from their Romantic range at the time (this particular design called Keats.)  I love the curved back.  We had it reupholstered in 2002, seventeen years after we purchased it, and now seventeen years have again passed and the seat covers have worn.  Sadly, this material, which I’d have again like a shot, has been discontinued. It’s a Colefax & Fowler upholstery material called Byron Weave.  I love it.  There is just sufficient pattern to make it interesting and it goes well with the curtains (which were made in 1985).   I’m not keen on large patterned upholstery that shouts ‘look at me’.

I still have bookshelves to clean but the room is now vacuumed and dusted which is really all we can now manage in the way of spring cleaning!  We don’t wash down walls because, quite frankly, they don’t require it as we don’t have an open fire or a log burner (both of which are pollutants even if they do look pretty.)

The alstromeria which I bought in Sainsbury’s last Friday have now opened up and look lovely; I’ve put them close to the window as they pick up the colour of the large vase (an inherited piece) close by.

I love early morning sunshine, there is no light quite like it, especially at this time of the year. And so while husband slept on, I had my early morning coffee in the sitting room, and now I feel ready to start the day.  I wonder whether, if you are experiencing spring, whether you are feeling more energized, ready to start spring cleaning?  Or perhaps you have completed that already?

Until next time.

About Margaret

Margaret’s main interests are her husband and family, her friends, her home, her garden, writing, literature, architecture, décor, social history, photography, historic houses and gardens, and towns, villages and the countryside. She writes about the things she enjoys: flowers, scent, fine soap, monthly style magazines, and other such small indulgences, such as afternoon tea or simply enjoying her summerhouse with a book. She invites you to enjoy this virtual visit to South Devon, England.

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  1. If you would like your sofa reupholstered I’d not hesitate to recommend Terry Manning 01803 550125 – I’ve used him for work and he’s very very good. Indeed he restored some chairs to new that had been bought in 1966 and not touched since. My sister has a cleaner and cleans the house before the cleaner comes. I’m sure I’d be the same!!! I cleaned the ground floor of my house last Thursday and will start the first floor later this week. Son and Daughter’s rooms are always a minefield when cleaning and I need to psych myself up for them!! Fiona xx

    • Margaret

      Thank you for that recommendation, Fiona. This company did re-fill the seat cushions a while back and I hate to say this as you have had a better experience, but they haven’t been very good. Indeed, we’re not exactly sure what they did – I think they used a much harder foam for the base and then stuffed some other material around that foam to soften it, but the two seem to have ‘separated’ and the seats are now all lumpen, not like they were when Kingcome did them in 2002.
      Could you not get your son and daughter to help clean their own rooms? I always did mine as a child, but I enjoyed it, there’s the difference! And I got our two to at least clear out the things they didn’t want and tidy up before I would clean their rooms. I’ve forgotten how old your two are, but it doesn’t hurt to get them started young on participating in the keeping of the house, the whole family lives in it, so the whole family should contribute, even in a small way, to it’s upkeep, I think.
      What wonderful weather!!! Husband has been gardening and I’ve taken down the voile curtain at our hall window, washed that, washed the window on the inside and re-hung the voile. I’m not keen on ‘net’ curtains but this is a very ugly window frame and the voile softens the view!

  2. I thought I’d comment in your weekend dentist visit. I’m in Canada, and we have similar problems. I grew up in Kent and Hertfordshire but I live in Winnipeg now. My regular dr has gone on maternity leave, her replacement does not start for a while and no other dr in the practice could see me. I had pain down the side of my face, which I thought was neuralgia, and linked to my eye where the point of pain was. So we ended spending the morning at a walk in clinic – sometimes they close if they have too many people waiting. So I was fortunate to see a Dr who diagnosed my problem is referring me to a neurologist and I have medication. But it is frustrating. I think you should have asked for a ref from the weekend dentist.

    • Margaret

      How awful to have such pain, Jean, and I hope your problem has now been sorted out. Nerve pain is awful, isn’t it, and you just want to get it sorted out and quickly. I was just glad that, regardless of the pain, I had the presense of mind not to allow this dentist to remove a perfectly healthy tooth (even though it’s a crowned tooth.)

  3. refund I meant to say

      • Margaret

        Thank you, Heather, but I’m sure your home is lovely. We’ve not decorated in 17 years and the furniture or soft furnishings haven’t been changed either. I think you might recognise the pink curtains (which we had made in 1985) so they are almost 35 years old now. But we put a lot of thought into how we decorated the room and the hall/stairs/landing in 2002 (husband doing all the work) and we changed the doors to panelled ones to give the room a bit of character, and we also changed the narrow skirting boards for deeper moulded ones – we couldn’t make them too deep because the room lacked height, but it’s paying attention to small details such as this which brings character into a modern box. Or rather, I like to think it is! It took a long time to decorate the sitting room and hall etc in 2002, what with changing the doors the skirtings, having the sofa reupholstered, the curtains cleaned, painting (the doors had four coats either side, all of them, throughout the house) but not just slapping on a coat of paint as some do, the hard work paid off, and the scheme looks as nice today as it did 17 years ago. I would say to anyone starting on a new scheme the secret is not so much finance (that helps of course but products don’t have to be the most expensive) but planning and preparation.

  4. Margaret your house is a credit to you
    I wish mine was half as nice

  5. The first warm, sunny days of Spring make me feel restless and I start looking closely at the house with an eye to moving things around, changing cushions, ornaments etc. Spring cleaning planned for Saturday.

    • Margaret

      Yes, I hope to change some of the ornaments, too, Eloise, bringing out lighter things for summer. I don’t have a store of cushions but buying some new ones is on my long-term plan for the sitting room. Sadly, I only like good cushions. I look at the cushions in the various stores such as Next and M&S and putting those on our sofas would be like putting glittery eye shadow on the Queen – not quite right! Our sofas might be old, but they’re elegant old ladies of the furnishing world.

  6. Your home is looking so lovely in the sunlight, showing up the pretty colors. And spiffy clean! Worth your efforts, I think.

    • Margaret

      Thank you, Ruth, but there are still loads of jobs to do – such as cleaning the windows on the inside (we have a window cleaner for the outside of the windows). I took down the voile curtain at the hall window yesterday and washed that and put it back up; it wasn’t what you would call ‘dirty’, I don’t allow things to get really soiled, but it just freshened it up after winter. I enjoy cleaning when I can pleasant results at the end of a cleaning and polishing session!

  7. Your garden looks bright and full of colour. I’m sure you’re looking forward to spending time in your summer house ☺️
    As we live in the tropics, there’s no ‘ spring ‘ as such. We just go headlong into summer, which is where we are now. But I have been cleaning windows and curtains. Since our homes are not centrally heated or cooled, dust gets in at an alarming pace, so that much more cleaning on a daily basis!!

  8. Hello Margaret, am I being confused with the other Heather, possibly? I see some of the names from contributors are out of sync, a web site fault I think? Nice to see your home much as we saw it, can’t believe it was so long ago! It is hard work doing major cleaning, we have wooden floors so that most beds etc move easily but our own fairly new bed is so heavy it needs two to move it.
    I am about to remove Samantha and her email before I post.

    • Margaret

      Silly me, Heather, I thought you were the ‘other’ Heather, I’d not checked properly, so my fault entirely. Sorry about that! It is such a nuisance when the wrong name pops up. Fiona (whom I know) is reguarly called someone else. I wish I could alter this, but it doesn’t happen on my computer. But I certainly made the mistake as your Heather always comes up as Heather H, so I know it’s you. Yes, modern beds are very heavy and really I don’t see why there is the need for this.

  9. Everything looks lovely and fresh. Moving mattresses (so as to flip or rotate them to ensure even wear) is difficult enough with manufacturers no longer attaching straps, handles or securing for us to hold onto. My mother and I rotated one of our mattresses recently and I nearly flattened her in the process as the mattress was about as easily to control as a slab of jelly ! Moving a whole ensemble bed can be easier if it’s on castors but even then it can be tricky when wedged between two bedside tables….. Your two couches are both lovely. Ours has been in our home for 10-15 years and was given to my husband by his best friend, who had bought it second hand. It’s australian made, which is rare, and incredibly well made. It’s also very comfortable – made for sprawling out on and easy to nod off. As it’s a four-seater, it’s almost 3 metres long. The fabric colour seems to go with everything and I’ve had several changes of cushions (diff colours and patterns) over the years. I now have a patterned throw which covers the seating and back areas so that I can wash it regularly. Although most of the time it’s just my cat and I who lounge, with the hot weather it’s nice to be able to keep it fresh. It is possible to remove the covers of the four large seat and four back cushions to wash them but it’s quite difficult to get the covers back on…… I’m glad your tv reception was fixed. My husband used to do that work regularly- not so much these days as he’s getting older he’s not so keen on climbing onto rooves (roofs?) and I don’t blame him. He often commented that people will live with a faulty electrical power point (socket), blown ceiling lights or broken bathroom exhaust fan but won’t live with poor tv reception ! Thank you for another interesting post xx

    • Margaret

      Yes, beds are very difficult to move and we need to move them to clean under them. We made the mistake of buying one of the new kinds of beds that they say don’t require turning over, only swivelling around end to end. It has a foam topping and that is meant to mould itself to your body shape. I do think a traditional mattress that you can turn over is better, but there again, how could two old codgers manage that? These things are heavy and as you say, they don’t have handles any more and are so difficult to grip – things are pared right down these days, aren’t they? Your couch (or sofa we might say) sounds great, and we can also lie full length on both of ours. The cream coloured one has removable covers although they are not loose by tailored covers, tight fitting, but the terracotta sofa is upholstered so we can’t remove the covers, only the cushions and seat covers.
      Yes, it’s surprising what people will put up with. We don’t like putting up with anything which is broken or doesn’t work properly and, thankfully, husband has always been able to effect repairs as he’s a very practical person (well, being an engineer of special purpose machinery i the electronics industry has helped!) but now we’re older there are jobs he knows how to do but age and lack of stamina prevent him from doing. But this is to be expected but he really hates to call in workmen to do jobs he knows how to do but is physically not strong enough now to do them.

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