My wife will be home in under 2 weeks. She’s been in Australia for the past 6 months, enjoying the high life and spending time with our grandchildren, the twins (now 2years and 10months old). I’m faced with the Herculean task of cleaning the house before she gets back. I spent half the morning on my knees cleaning the kitchen floor; the bathroom floor awaits, the carpets need vacuuming, the wooden floor in the hall has to be swept, and the kitchen worktop and cooker hob need urgent attention. I had to replace one of our windows recently, as the double-glazed seal had gone, so I have one clean window. The rest, 14 of them, are covered in grime. They haven’t been cleaned in well over a year. I’m wondering if I could get them all replaced and save all that work.
I remember a time, not so long ago, when we darned our socks. I use the term ‘we’ here in the loosest possible sense, of course. My mother had a wooden mushroom that was always in use. For those of you who have no notion what I’m talking about, here’s a picture of one. This was a piece of wood, shaped like a mushroom, that was placed inside a sock to hold the material in position to receive the darning needle. A darning needle? That was a butch version of an ordinary needle, thick as a bookie’s pen, blunt, and with an eye that a camel could pass through – well, maybe not a camel, but you get the idea.
Who darns socks nowadays? We live in the age of in-built disposability. If something gets damaged or torn, it doesn’t get repaired; we throw it away and buy a new one. Think of the number of disposable household cleaning products that have replaced the rags and dusters that we used to use, wash and re-use in the old days. And remember those fun-filled nights spent melting wax overspill from our candles and rebuilding new ones? Who recycles candle wax these days?