After a weekend away, we return late Sunday afternoon to find the dust in our house under the spotlight of dazzling autumn sunshine. Not all the dust is due to slovenliness. Lighting our woodburning stoves the last few chilly evenings has distributed a flurry of fine, powdery ash throughout the cottage, as if we’ve just acquired as a lodger a small but slightly active volcano.
Still relaxed from our mini-break at the (very clean and tidy) house of friends, I decide to take the house by storm – and my family too. I raid the broom cupboard and distribute cleaning materials and tools to my startled husband and daughter.
Not much later, the house looks fit for visitors. Gosh, I wouldn’t mind living here, I think to myself, surveying the shiny kitchen surfaces and toy-free carpet with satisfaction. Not that I expect the effect to last long.
His vacuuming duty completed, my husband resumes the raid he had started a few days before on our various sheds and outhouses. He is turning them out with the energy and enthusiasm of one about to move house. Not that he, or we, are about to move house, but for a moment I think we should consider it.
If we were to put the house on the market, I’d soon get round to doing the rest of the chores I’ve been putting off for so long – rationalising the pile of knitting patterns that’s threatening to fall on the head of anyone who climbs the stairs; editing the growing heap of odds and ends dumped on Laura’s dressing table (now, where can she have acquired that habit, I wonder?)
Planning to move to a much smaller house would be especially helpful, as it would force me to be more ruthless. Maybe I should make it a flat.
A few dozen skips and trips to the “Sort-It” recycling centre later, I’d hire a furniture van, fill it with our minimised possessions, drive round the block, come back and move in. The new uncluttered look would feature all that we love best, and we’d have no end of space. It would be a very satisfactory arrangement. Nice neighbours, an excellent local primary school, lively village community, established garden, village pubs, shop, post office and hairdressers, all in a lovely Cotswold setting. I couldn’t hope to find a better home.
Now, where did I put that estate agent’s card?