Tomorrow afternoon a new friend is coming to visit me at my home. She hasn’t been to my house before. I hope to get to know her better and to become good friends, and this will ensure that my house is cleaned and tidied before she arrives.
This is a striking example of my sister-in-law’s theory that “The best way to get something done is to do something else”. Over the last few weeks the house has been getting progressively dustier, because we ended our contract with a domestic cleaning company when I gave up my salaried job to go freelance. Every day since then, there have been plenty of excuses for me to avoid doing any housework. Apart from the daily dishwasher cycle and the regular loading and unloading of the washing machine, there has not been a lot of activity on the housework front. But the promise of a visit from a new friend that I want to impress will guarantee action stations and a shiny, fragrant welcome.
On the same principle, I’ve always found that scheduling a garden party round about the end of June is the best way to ensure the flowerbeds are weeded, vegetable garden planted, and garden furniture sparkling clean by midsummer.
I’m always on the look-out for similar formulae to take the pain out of the more tiresome chores. But I think I’ll draw the line at my sister-in-law’s favourite, which slipped out in an unguarded moment at a dinner party.
“The best way to clean your nails,” she prescribed brightly, “is to make pastry.”
Suddenly the apple pie she’d made for our pudding lost its appeal.