Thursday, 15 August 2013

Ah, the joys of returning home

We were on holiday last week.  Just a week in a caravan on the South Coast while we helped my parents run a bookstall at a Church Camp.  It was a fun time for the kids, and great in many ways for me, but EXHAUSTING!

With seven people plus suitcases to transport, a bit of logistics was required, even with our seven seater.  Cue a lovely first class train journey for me, Baby and Daughter 2 and a couple of days staying with my parents in London either side of the Camp.  (In case you're wondering, we're not fabulously wealthy, the first class tickets were only £6 more than the standard and the children were under 5 so free!)

Now, I'm the first to admit I am not a tidy person.  I do not have tidy habits, a tidy husband or well trained children - despite my frequent attempts at reform.  Growing up, however, I was trained by my mother to think that cleaning and tidying the house before a holiday was as essential as packing.  It is something I normally adhere to, and I love the feeling of coming back home knowing that all I have to do is unpack and do washing.

This year I honestly tried but I just couldn't be bothered.  A combination of general tiredness and knowing that even if I did tidy up it would be only a matter of time before the children messed it up again - especially since three of them would be staying with Daddy in the house for a few days - left me without any motivation.  So, after a half hearted attempt, I got on my train and went on holiday.

When I got home on Monday night I cried.  Some of that was left over baby hormones, but mostly it was just sheer bitter disappointment.  I had foolishly hoped that in my absence my husband would have at least organised the children to maintain the level of mess I had left behind me.  And if I'm honest I had secretly hoped that he would have a personality transplant just for a day and tidied up!

Oh the bitterness of my disappointment.  It was so much worse than I had left it.  Not even the washing up had been done...  So after a few minutes of stony silence on my part, with a bit of banging and crashing while I did the washing up, I burst into tears on my darling husband's shoulder.

True to form, he had no real understanding of why I was upset.  And to be fair, why should he?  He has a complete inability to see mess - I know this about him, and in fact it is something I usually feel faintly relieved about when friends tell me about the nagging their partners inflict when coming home from work to a less than pristine home.  But the least he can do is hold me while I cry - and so he does.

Now I am just about on top of the washing up.  I have completed eight loads of washing (I do about five a week, so a week away causes a serious backlog).  I have bribed my children to empty bins and clean the table and put away their clothes.  We have tidied the playroom a little.  I have vacuumed the stairs, and my eldest daughter's room (which, wonderfully, she had tidied better than I have ever known her to - although she seems to have discovered the magic of 'under the bed').

I still have another four loads of washing to do (with more adding every day), and a lot of tidying and cleaning before even I will feel comfortable.  And now we've discovered a wasps nest in the shower room.  I want to go on holiday again...  Trouble is, it'll all still be waiting for me when I come back - and then some!  I keep sneaking a peek at my daughter's room for encouragement.  I guess I should get back to it...  But I might have another biscuit first.

Dreadful Days, Orli Just Breathe

This one's for you Orli!


  1. Just reading about your laundry made me want to cry myself. And then the wasps? Really? I would move. That's it.
    But you are so much tougher than me. I know, because I read the 20k post with the pigs and the bees.
    I did miss you when you were on holiday, so I am glad you are back. Even if you reminded me I have to do some cleaning myself...
    Thank you for writing this post just for me! :) x

    1. I remember reading once that the most noticable addition with each new child in a family is the laundry - it's very true! Thank you for your sympathy!! (I'm doing well, only one more load to go. Thank goodness for the tumble dryer.) The wasps have been fumigated by my husband (it's the kind of thing he's good at) and have been only a minor nuisance really - just a bit alarming to see them crawling out of the vent!
      It's nice to have been missed. Good luck on the cleaning. ;)

  2. Hello. Just wanted to say My name's Abi and I can't be bothered to tidy my house either! I sympathise with the post-holiday blues!

    1. Thanks! I've given up apologising for the mess. People can take me as they find me. I just wish I didn't keep treading on little bits of Lego and old Cheerios.

  3. Nicola, first of all I saw we have a birthday in common (almost, but still counts)! I am May 20th!
    Second, I can't seem to find a twitter account with your name on it... Is that true? Are you the only blogger alive without a twitter account? how am I supposed to mention you and send my legion of followers to this fabulous post?
    (I did anyway, just thought I might have missed it somewhere)

  4. Hi Orli, I do in fact have a twitter account - although I'm not very prolific on it! @meandbooks is the address. How strange that we almost share a birthday!
    By the way, my husband was wondering if you met a policeman in Gib called Reuben? (you'd know if you had!) There is probably a long list of folk we both know - it being such a small place!
    Thanks for sending people my way!

    1. The only policeman I know by name in Gib is Karl, but I guess we do both know people in common there (though I am very bad with names, so my husband is the safer bet to ask)...


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