Saturday, 3 November 2012

Saturday 3rd November - The Benefits of Dusting

Today I started doing some Spring Cleaning, rather overdue from last Spring - or maybe getting ahead of the game for next Spring? Who knows, and I'm not telling.

It was the level of dust layering all the surfaces in the living room; shelves, books, ornaments, floor, rug...

I'm not houseproud, but eventually, living in an atmosphere of general domestic neglect does get me down. I had been planning to use half term as house-rescue-reclamation time, but circumstances intervened.

Sighing heavily, I got a micro fibre cloth (Ugh - they catch and cling to every roughness on your skin - HATE the feel of them, but they are the best at trapping dust) and set to work. It was a revelation; now I understand something new about the value of surrounding oneself with inanimate possessions.

 The little collection of cats all feel totally different, as you pick them up and look at them properly. The wooden one is smooth and light, the heavy, cold pewter one, the strange and slightly Chinese character of the porcelain one... Each one could have brought a memory of who gave it to me, and when, but only a few have this attached to them. If I had been in the habit of dusting them more often, then I would have been able to remember. I'm cross with myself, that this important element of giving and receiving, having and holding all these little treasures has been treated so lightly. And how did that little dog get there?

On the other side of the mantelpiece are a collection of romantic ornaments; the Limoges china piano from the top of our wedding cake, and some wedding anniversary gifts.

Then there is the little pile of "curiosities"; the metal puzzle hand made from a rare aluminium alloy, the "dinosaur tooth" the "flint arrowheads" and the sand dollar.

Flanking all of these bits and pieces are a pair of brass candlesticks which I remember from my grandmother's house.

Dusting ceased to be a chore, and became a trip back through the years, revisiting people and places who have been, who are important to me.   

Meanwhile, I am spending some time wondering what to take in to my mother when we visit. Something that will make a good topic of conversation, and leave her with something to think about when we are not there. A lot of the time, when her eyes are shut, she is half awake, listening to the sounds around but too tired to join in. I remember that when I was recovering from a minor op, I could hear my husband and brother chatting softly together and found the sound of their voices infinitely comforting, even though I was too tired to follow or join in with their conversation. So, even though her eyes were shut, I tried to gossip about nothing much in particular with my father until it was time to go.


  1. Kirsten, you've inspired me! What a lovely way to turn dusting into something else. I do like your mantelpiece - we too have many, many things around us at home, all of which have fond memories attached and what better way to cherish the things AND the memories (and lower those dust levels).

    Trouble is, I'm away from home at the moment and have to hope that the inspiration lasts till I get back! I'll have to bookmark your post and read it again when I get home.

  2. Meant to say also I'm with you about the feel of micro fibre cloths - ugh. I find dampening them very slightly helps, and if levels of dust make me fearful of lurking bugs a drop of tea tree oil. See, I do dust - sometimes!