when the going gets tough, the tough start cleaning

It feels like we are living in a dream at the moment. Everything is so surreal that my brain is having trouble believing it all.

As I write this, the sun is shining, the door is open and the sound of the silence is deafening. The only sound from the street is the occasional sound of a siren.

I’d love to write some cheery, ‘mother earth is healing’, ‘take the time to look after yourself, read books, get some jobs done’, platitudes but at the minute I’m in the middle of a major wobble and I’m scared.

Up until this point it’s largely been a case of keep calm and crack on. Friends have been making funny videos to post on Facebook, the jokes have been coming thick and fast and it’s all felt a bit like a public holiday but without the bank holiday crowds.

Obviously, Boofuls Lodging Emporium is closed to the general public and even to members of our own family. Now that Lashes is living in the next town it’s so very quiet here.

So. How to cope with it all?

It has been noted by close friends and family that in times of extreme stress I start cleaning. This counts as a time of extreme stress.

This morning I decided to turn our very large commercial kitchen into a domestic kitchen. As I’ve mentioned before our kitchen is very long and divided into three sections. At the top is cooking and food prep then it’s washing up and cleaning and at the very far end we have fridges, freezers and washing machines. It’ obviouly been designed to make you walk as far as posible as often as possible.

While I’ve been twiddling my thumbs it occured to me that we don’t need to have all the fridges and freezers running all with just a few items in them so I set to.

I have emptied all the fridges and freezers, condensing all the food into two small fridge freezers. I have moved a fridge freezer from the far end of the kitchen to the top end where the cooker is and I’ve moved all our personal crockery and cutlery to the top end of the kitchen along with our personal food and kettle. All this happened before Boofuls was out of bed. He stumbled into the kitchen bleary eyed and surveyed the wreckage of our kitchen. “Oh my Gawd! What have you done?”

“Had a bit of a change round.” He spent the next five minutes opening cupboards and drawers looking trying to assemble his morning breakfast.

After breakfast I decided that the planters at the front of the building needed to be watered and it generally involves carrying buckets of water about 100 yards through the house. There is a hosepipe next to the planters attached to a water butt on the flat roof but it’s never worked.

Stupidly I said I wanted to find out why it wasn’t working. I should have just left well alone. It turned into a proper ‘Right said Fred” moment. Just for the record, when I say, ‘Right Said Fred’ I’m talking about the Bernard Cribbins song not the ’80’s pop band.

First we tried various attachments on the end of the pipe. Nope. Nothing.

“I know, I’ll check the water butt.” Off I trotted up to the top floor and clambered out of the window of room 12 onto the flat roof. It’s at times like that when I realise how very short my legs are and I needed to get a bedside cabinet to use as a step.

After climbing delicately round the solar panels I turned the tap on the water butt. Nothing. Ok. Next. I took off the lid. Empty except for a breeze block. How the hell can it be empty after all the rain we’ve had? There’s a blockage.

Boofuls was standing on the pavement on the other side of the road giving me instructions via phone. “Look at the guttering, is it blocked?”

“Er…I think I can see the problem, it’s got plants in it.”Boofuls went to get the big step ladders, sliding them out of the window before then climbing out himself. That was a tight squeeze. Two people, one large set of ladders, a giant water butt (thought I would specify WATER butt in case anyone cast any aspersions as to the size of mon derriere), eight solar panels and a blocked gutter, all on a small flat roof.

Boofuls gingerly climbed the ladder to the guttering to remove the offending plant. I think my suggestion of waiting till it had finished flowering went down like a lead balloon.

Next we had to run some water down it. Hhhmmm, where to get water from? The water butt is empty and of course there is never a handy downpour when you need it. Boofuls said he was going to join a few hosepipes together and throw them up to me. I decided to stay and wait on the roof, enjoy the sea view and a nice, socially distant chat with one of the neighbours. While I was stood there a police car went past. I prayed the driver wouldn’t look up, spot me on the roof and think the neighbour was trying to talk me down. “Er love, don’t jump, you’ll get a nasty sprain from that height.” That’s at the low end of the roof. At the other side, the drainpipe side, it’s a fifty foot drop (built on a hill, y’see).

After a few minutes Boofuls arrived back with what seemed like a hundred yards of hosepipe all connected together. “Right, catch this.”

Catch this. Haha, he’s funny. I’m rubbish at catching. It’s generally a combination of flailing hands, raised knees and the skill of the thrower that allows me to catch anything at all, especially without my glasses. Anyway, he threw it with all his might and I flailed wildly. Magically it landed in my arms and I didn’t drop it. Pulling the hosepipe along the roof I climbed the ladder to the top and thrust the hosepipe into the gutter. That was fine and the water flowed beautifully until it reached the drainpipe. The one that feeds the water butt. It was blocked solid. Of course, it being blocked meant that the powerful jet of water that just went in flew straight back out and I got soaked.


Next idea. I need a pokey tool. Amazingly, I found a stick to shove down the drainpipe and loosen the blockage. After a few good pokes and a bit of rummaging around I managed to loosen it. This was while I was dangling off the top of the ladder and holding on the drainpipe for support – a bit too close to the fifty foot drop for my liking. I shoved the hosepipe back in and with a lot of gurgling noise and lots of debris flying out it cleared!!

Cheers all round!!

It’s amazing what makes your day when you’re on a lockdown.

What shall I do next?

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