Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Unpacking the Tea Set

Just had our French teacher to afternoon tea instead of our usual back to back (me first, then Tod) French lessons.

Yvette loves all things English, so we've been thoroughly spoilt - an afternoon of chatting in English rather than struggling in French, while we showed her round and then drank weak English tea and ate delectable French cakes.

It was her first visit to our house, so this morning was a frantic "cat's lick" of a tidy up to get the place looking half respectable. Our excuse is the age of the house (bits dropping off the walls and ceilings all the time, spiders' webs in every corner) and having two Airedale dogs who spend their entire time carrying the garden into the house. Turn round and there is dust on every surface. Somehow I thought tile floors would be easier to clean than carpets, but now I realise that the carpets in our last house hid most of the dirt that the dogs brought in.

We have friends who say "drop in for coffee, any time" and I just know that if I do their house will be neat, clean and tidy. No lime scale on the bathroom taps; no leftover bits of food on the swing bin lid; no sink filled with yesterday's dirty saucepans; no cobwebs hanging from the ceiling and no remnants of dogs' dinner on the kitchen tiles.

We have friends round periodically (but not too often) so it forces us to clean and tidy up. And also forces us to continue to unpack the last few remaining boxes currently sitting in the part of the house that as yet has no name - studio? apartment? gîte? - anyway, the bit that friends stay in which probably was a barn and now has a mezzanine with beds. This morning I scrabbled through old newspapers to find our posh tea service and I now have a work surface in the studio/ apartment/ gîte covered in pieces of unpacked crockery with nowhere to put them.

Somehow when they were handing out the tidiness gene I missed out.

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