We’re lucky to have hospitable friends and family, and we know we’ll be warmly welcomed when we go to visit – be it for a cup of afternoon tea and a mince-pie such as I enjoyed yesterday, or to spend a day with them, or to have a pleasant evening and a lovely meal… and a few times a year we spend weekends away with them too. Needless to say, we reciprocate and today we are looking forward to friends from Devon coming to spend the day with us.
Each time we visit, welcomed into comfortable homes, I look round at how tidy everywhere is – even as the host is saying ‘excuse the muddle and mess’! I surreptitiously look at the surfaces (dust free) the shelves and bookcases (organised – and dust free) the corners, nooks and crannies which are spider-web free, the windowsills not piled with ‘stuff’ (and dust free), the kitchen not like a bomb-site and mugs taken from a cupboard to make tea and not rescued from the draining board or dish-washer.
When I pop round to see people unannounced and I’m taken in for a sit down and a chat, even then when things are a bit untidy – untidy in their lovely homes might be a few newspapers lying around, or a recently finished coffee cup not yet washed up and put away. How do people do it? Even people with lots of children, paid work, pets and lots of hobbies and activities only have superficial disorder.
Welcome, very welcome to our house! Welcome into the tiny hall and negotiate through the piles of shoes and boots, glance up the stairs where each step has something on it, waiting in vain to be carried up and put away. Welcome into our sitting room – we have tidied up (can you notice, everything, all the ‘stuff’ is in neat piles?) We have hoovered but somehow missed some of those little paper circles left over from hole-punching paper. I did dust, honestly, and I did move things and dust beneath them, but somehow I missed in front of the TV which looks as if a furry beast is lying there. We totally forgot about the spiders… Their webs lurk in several corners – but on the other hand, ‘if you want to live and thrive, let the spider run alive’… yes indeed, our spiders run alive all over the place.
If you wander through the dining room (now an art studio – in my husband’s mind) and into the kitchen you will find slight chaos – only slight because I did tidy and wash-up but somehow ran out of time to put away… oh and I didn’t notice those pans which should have gone in the sink… If you do need to use the facilities, however, you will find them pristine (well, apart from the dusty skirting boards)
People can’t mind too much about our casual attitude to tidy (in my mind I don’t have a casual attitude, but somehow in practice…) because people are always pleased to come and see us, eat, stay over, come to the pub for the quiz… but I do wonder if as they drive away they say with a bemused smile ‘How can they live in such a muddle?!’
PS you can see from the featured image it looks fairly neatish from the outside!