Monday, 24 February 2014

Mad Dogs and Englishwomen

I live in a household where life hurtles along at an impossible pace, and often there does not seem enough hours in the day to gather our thoughts, let alone the runaway socks, games kits and missing folders.  Even the pets have gone mad – the dog has developed a conversational tone rather like Chewbacca (this apparently, is quite common amongst collies, but still takes every visitor to the house by surprise), one of the cats has taken to hiding behind the bin in the kitchen and leaping Cato-style hissing and spitting out at the unsuspecting canine who then launches into an indignant soliloquy, and the other cat has discovered a liking for getting into boxes.  This is a problem when you are having work done in your house, or things delivered, as all tool boxes and vans have to be checked.  He narrowly escaped a surprise journey to Leeds in the back of a lorry delivering beds…

But what can you do when you are a busy family of five and where everyone has interests or activities that need to be attended to and where life, although fast, is fun?   I sometimes look around the house and wonder what it would actually look like if everything was in the right place, all the ironing was done instead of creating a huge hulking ready-to-topple mountain in the corner of our bedroom, if all the surfaces were clear instead of being immediately filled up with stuff and if there wasn’t a wail from one of the toilets for toilet roll because we’ve run out…

I wonder what it would be like to live in a home where all the mugs matched in a colour co-ordination dictated by the d├ęcor, rather than what blobby blurred concoction your child managed to mix at the Ceramic painting party he attended.  And wouldn’t it be nice to sit down on the sofa and not hear the crunch of the missing folder that you were looking for before the school run this morning.  In such a house, the dog wouldn’t create his own carpet of hair as he chatted conversationally in Chewbaccarese, Cato cat would simply purr and look beautiful and Box cat would sleep in the £30 cat box that I bought for him.
 
I envisage a life in which, Maria von Trapp-style, I would hand the kids full kit bags with nothing missing with a cheery kiss and a wave off to school.  I would then efficiently walk the talking dog without breaking into a sweat and getting drenched in torrential rain or spattered with mud, magically lose 2 stone in doing so, get back, swiftly hoover round the house, singing all the while, and then sip a cup of Earl Grey whilst dinner simmers merrily on the stove.  Hell, we could even throw in some singing birds who dust the surfaces and a Bambi who sweeps the floor.

But for the moment, I am content to see just how many more clothes I can place on the ironing mountain before we all shout Timber! and scatter before death by linen. I look at my aged sofa which creaks when you sit on it and I remember all my children sitting on it from the age dot, their chubby little legs in socks barely creeping over the edge of the cushion, then to the school shoes stage and now one of them has feet in a size 12. The scratches and dents in the skirting boards remind me of the countless hours of fun had when learning the skateboard, or the kids smashing into each other in their toy pedal cars.  The paintwork, where one child denied to the hilt that he had graffitied, until we pointed out that he had signed his name, can always be refreshed.  The clutter on the surfaces can be cleared, only to replenish at another day.


The truth of the matter is our household is mad, it’s messy, it’s in continual motion.  But that’s what makes it home…