I have the impression that people think that I swan around doing nothing when I’m here. But nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, sometimes it feels like my sole purpose is to keep the place going. So, amongst the many boring, practical things I’ve done in the house and garden this week, I’ve finally managed to tick something very, very dull off my To Do list.
For a small property (20 perch, an ancient measure that amounts to a bit less than an acre), Spring Cottage has too many gates. Six to be exact. That’s because there’s a front and a back garden, and a kind of inner sanctum, which I can only imagine was once necessary for a previous resident to keep non-flying and non-feline animals in the garden out of the area closest to the house, or to keep something domestic out of the grassy and flowery bits. I wish I knew.
Obsessing about my gates really does make me sound extremely small minded, doesn’t it? I can hear the click of people closing their browser windows and going elsewhere.
But, with the amount of rain we’ve had here in the last couple of years and the constant storms of mud and dust unleashed by the traffic in the lane, the gates were looking hideously dirty and covered in mildew, instead of shiny and black. The countryside is a filthy place. City dwellers with nice pavements outside their houses have no idea. I certainly didn’t before I came here.
Plus, every time I had to go through a gate I made a depressing mental note that they looked horrible and made the place look unnecessarily run down and, most of all, that I still hadn’t taken the time to clean them. But life really felt too short most of the time.
And yet, I always forget how keeping on top of things like this actually cheers me up. For a compulsive maker of lists, there’s nothing worse than not doing the things on them.
Anyway, over the last couple of days I finally took cleaning cloths and a brush to my multitude of gates, only a couple at a time because they’re quite fiddly. Now every time I go through one I feel happier and can stop beating myself up. And because I was so pleased with myself I also cleaned the windows, using a copy of The Sun someone had left here – almost the best use I’ve put it to so far, other than using it to start the fire.
And here is lucky gate number seven, not mine so I don’t really count it, which is fortunate because it’s falling over.
And that’s where my houseproudness ends as I’m sure I’m not going to have time to do much in the next little while because on Saturday, we are getting a puppy. But that’s another story.
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