Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Bad dreams and the call to action


Brace yourselves - two riveting subjects coming up: dreams and housework. I know you'll manage to control your mounting excitement.



The bugle is blowing loud and clear today: "Spring CLEANING time is here! Stop going on about Spring and DO something - start cleaning your house!" But I needed a Sign.

I woke this morning with a headache ( which happens rarely) and a sense that it was Wednesday (well, that happens a lot). I had also been dreaming, a vivid and unpleasant dream in which unsupervised painters had covered the unfeasibly-high walls of my vast and grassy (dream) back yard with black paint. I was in despair, and helpless.


Yesterday I had dreamt of having moved into a crumbling house, like an unconverted barn, with an uneven mud floor; I had just cleaned everywhere, and it was now full of other, uninvited, people, and all their mess, clutter, and unwashed dishes. I was furious, and helpless.


I got up, feeling oppressed and miserable, and over breakfast, thought about what it might all mean. I'm not overly prone to amateur analysis of dreams, but I know that when I dream about houses, they are usually huge, gloomy and in need of repair - this usually means there's something about me and my world that is calling for attention. Hmmmm......


Dream dirt, messiness, neglect, blackness, helplessness..... I looked around. I saw cushions needing urgently to have fresh covers in bright colours, grubby arm covers, carpets desperately in need of professional cleaning after my inept efforts with sprays had worsened their many stains,  a (small, paved) back yard crying out for drastic action: pressure washing, cutting back of the dead winter stalks, plant pots being organised for Spring, repairing where harsh frosts had damaged the walls. There was evidence of the sharp claws of wicked cats everywhere, indoors and out.

And where was that Billy, the liar-liar-pants-on-fire roofer, who still hasn't come back to finish the everlasting work? Worse, where was I, all this time, letting this slovenly neglect build up? I could see where: in that familiar realm of At Fault, moaning about grubbiness; doing absolutely nothing about it. Whining about stains on the carpets; ditto. Thinking of making summer cushion covers; ditto with knobs on. And so on and so lazily forth.


I had let things slide, and I knew it, especially in my sleeping hours. Not a sophisticated train of thought, perhaps, but it seemed to fit.


So I tackled the headache first: the dog, neighbour Lesley and I had a pleasant walk through the Dene. There were robins, and flowering currant, bouncy brown dogs with their owners, and a general air of liveliness brought on by milder weather.


We met Alan from the allotment, and I found myself meaning it when I said I'd be down there soon, to dig, plant potatoes, clean the pond. He looked relieved - no need to send the dreaded Warning Letter to another skiving plot holder. Those potatoes chitting on the windowsill will go in the ground on Good Friday, as tradition demands.

Back home, I spent some time in the back yard, cutting back dead fern fronds, exposing the  knobbles beneath that look like they will never produce another fat bud -


- until suddenly, amazingly, they do. But not yet.


I wrestled a white-flowering clematis out of its too-small "this will do for now" pot in which it has struggled for several years, and replanted it. This was all it managed last year, poor thing:


I filled half a wheelie bin with yard sweepings and tidyings-up. The grubby arm covers and dog throws went in the wash. And I rang Billy the roofer. He called me Darlin' several times, and promised to be here by Monday. Yeah, yeah.... But I know I was right to go a bit giddy and feckless, and spend the roof money on this Mac last year; I've had time to save it up all over again.

Tomorrow I talk to the carpet cleaning company whose quote has lain in a drawer for months. Tomorrow Margery comes, to hoover and bang about with chemically-fragranced sprays (she resists my attempts to persuade her to white vinegar and e-cloths). Tomorrow I shall be the model housewife, progressing the ongoing programme of Spring cleaning. I may even take curtains down and shop for cushion cover fabric. Oops, maybe I've been affected by Billy; a little over-optimistic there, in the matter of fabric....

And maybe tonight I'll dream of uncluttered surfaces, gleaming paintwork, manicured lawns and myself in a clean pinny with a shiny-shiny halo. Blowing my own trumpet bugle.

19 comments:

mountainear said...

I quite like my odd house dreams - but they can't relate to a need to restore order in myself and my hoem because I'd be dreaming them every night if that were the case. (Have list as long as my arm of Things To Do...)

I do dream of travelling - not that it gets me anywhere. Perhaps I have a need to escape.

Paddy Paws said...

Steady on or you'll be Saint Rachel of Tyneside before we've even found our dusters.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Thankyou !! That was so inspiring . I must go for a walk tomorrow .

Pondside said...

You had me until you got to Margery, with the dust cloth and sprays. Please send her here when she's finished at your place. I'm my own Margery and long for help, The Great Dane being a Great Shed Builder but not A Great Cleaner.
Love your dog, your cats and your style, so I'll be back!

Lucille said...

You deserve very sweet dreams tonight. Great illustrations by the way. (I've just borrowed my brother's pressure sprayer - a hugely cathartic cleaning tool.)

Lesley said...

Yes, steady on - this mortal feels virtuous if I sluice over the kitchen surfaces and swing a hoover around the place once in a while!!

Well done for setting your world back on its axis.

Lesley x

Lynda (Granny K) said...

It's surprising what a good feeling you get from tackling some jobs, isn't it?

I bet you sleep like a log tonight after all that effort. No dreams.

rachel said...

Mountainear - I have a To Do List too, in fact a collection of yellowing, quite antique lists. Some items remain on them for decades.

P.Paws - I feel saintly already. Do try and keep up!

S&S - you always make me laugh!

Pondside - Welcome! Margery doesn't dust - I do - but she hoovers for Britain, and is therefore worth her weight in gold, as hoovering is a loathsome task, so bad for the nerves.

Lucille - oh yes - a pressure washer, a big yellow toy for girls, and the best cleaning tool ever!

Lesley - swinging a hoover, does that work?

Lynda - let's see. I may dream of endless To Do Lists.....

judy in ky said...

Wishing you pleasant dreams tonight...

Marcheline said...

What a great post! I, too, did some Spring cleaning today, but as it was raining out, all my work was indoors. Not that it didn't need it, because - whoof, it did! Dust bunnies rounded up, books organized and shelved, storage room sorted...

And I think I'll sleep without rocking tonight!

Val said...

If there is a line to borrow Margery may I please be in it.....

love those cupcakes said...

Had to look twice there as I thought you'd managed to snap me with my feet up on the pouffe (or puffy as we say in these parts). All this talk of spring cleaning has given me an attack of the vapours.

Rattling On said...

You see, even dreaming of housework gave you a headache. That indicates to me that you'd best avoid it. Or at least only do the impressive stuff-gardening comes under that heading- chopping the tops off things always looks like plenty has been achieved...

Dartford Warbler said...

Can I borrow Margery after Val please?

A great post. It cheered me up so much that I did a pile of ironing, but that was enough for one day.....

Isabelle said...

My house dreams are always - or at least were when we had three live-in children and not quite enough room - that I opened a cupboard door and found another room that we'd never noticed.

A Margery, huh? Sounds good.

Pam said...

Oooo I have those crumbling house in need of repair dreams. In my dreams I've bought the house full of cracks and rotting floor boards and wonder what on earth I've done as I wander through the musty rooms. The scale of repair involved leaves me in a cold sweat and I'm so happy to wake up! Congratulations on your mighty cleaning up and repotting efforts.Even my horrible house dreams don't inspire me to get cracking -I just carry on at the same old pace. Enjoyed your post.

elizabethm said...

My house dreams are always of finding a door which leads to another whole wing of rooms. Someone once told me this means I am neglecting a part of my psyche but since I can't quite work out which bit I just carry on carrying on. There is a real pleasure in sorting things out though isn't there?

Sweet Virginia Breeze said...

If I dream, I never remember them when I wake up. I think I need a dream to encourage me to continue my spring cleaning.

Marie said...

Start selling your writing. It is really very good...

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