11.30: Delightful parents of Couple No. 1 wander round my house being highly complimentary. Flossie helps them to view everything.
The sun shines, making the house look bright and airy, and the open windows make Spring seem almost here. Perhaps it is!
Cats hop in and out of windows, and help to accentuate how very filthy they are - it's time for the window cleaner's monthly visit.
12.30: Margery arrives. No cleaning today - the vacuum is away being serviced after making horrible screeching noises yesterday. We are lifting stair carpet instead, and set to with vim and vigour. Fiddly bits first.
Flossie and the cats help. Tosca watches.
Unpleasant stains are revealed. These are not the worst.
They have historical value to anyone wishing to chronicle the life stages of the ageing cat; I am not in the least nostalgic as I roll up sections of carpet into black bin liners.
Margery the Unsqueamish says this is fun. She is always a treasure, but is invaluable when rough work or dirty jobs require an extra pair of hands.
I continually impale my thick-soled slippers on the deadly gripper strips.
We decide to leave the old underlay covering the killer spikes until nearer the time for the new underlay and carpet to be fitted. Lacerated paws and feet are not a sensible idea.
Tomorrow I will sand the side bits where carpet and wet paint have left ridges over the years, clean up, and prepare for the loathsome task of gloss painting.
But for now, we stop for coffee and a slice of gingerbread; I tell Margery the story of when the Lovely Son fell on the gripper strip many carpets ago and gashed his hand open.
This story involves a greeny-white 11- year old boy about to faint, a great deal of blood, a stepfather also greeny-white and about to faint, and me gritting my teeth at the feebleness of the species while sorting out butterfly stitches and dressings.
We laugh, rather unkindly, and finish the gingerbread. Flossie and Tosca help.