Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Delights in domesticity

I am discovering, as I get older, that there are many good things to be found in domestic life. The satisfaction and quiet pleasure to be found in everyday home-based pursuits is something that I have overlooked for many years.

Domesticity is a strange mixture of drudgery and delight. I find that the more time I spend away from home, whether at work, running errands or just gadding about, the more the drudgery part dominates. This is probably why I felt so discombobulated (I always love an opportunity to use that word!) on Sunday evening after a strangely busy weekend.

When I am properly at home, for several days at a time, I tune in more to the rhythms of home life, and I find that I can get a great deal of satisfaction from the more pleasurable tasks.

Domestic delights:
  • The sound of the washing machine. Is there really any nicer sound? It gives me a real inner peace to hear the sound of the washing machine gently sploshing away, getting everything clean and sweet-smelling for me.
  • Making bread. Apart from the smell of freshly baked bread, which is so lovely, there is something pleasingly ancient about the act of making bread. It must be one of the oldest recipes known to man.
  • Baking a cake. Or cakes. Makes me feel like a generous hostess from a more domestic era!
  • Feeding the hens their corn in the mornings.
  • Any sewing that involves using the sewing machine - such a great sound and pretty fabrics draped everywhere.
  • Gathering dry washing in from the line outside. I bury my face into line-dried washing and inhale deeply. It smells almost as good as freshly baked bread.
  • Putting clean sheets on the beds - I love this! And once slept in, the bed never looks as good again, until you change the sheets the next time.

Domestic drudgery:

  • Sewing on name tapes. Really, really hate it.
  • Washing up greasy frying pans because they are too big to fit in the dishwasher.
  • Putting clean washing back into people's drawers and cupboards. There's so much of it!
  • Dusting.
  • Ironing.
  • Changing light bulbs or batteries. No matter how many I buy, and despite having a cupboard FULL of assorted bulbs and batteries, I never seem to have the right one.

In our brave, scary, 21st Century world, where many people are striving to return to a simpler way of living, there are of course more blogs and books lauding the underrated pleasures of domesticity than you could possibly imagine. I am very much looking forward to the publication of Jane Brocket's first book The Gentle Art of Domesticity which is published next month; I have been a big fan of her beautiful blog for a long time now.

I have finished my working week now and have two domestic days ahead of me. I'll start by putting a load of washing on, and by the time I have finished all my domestic delights I will need to sit down with a good book for a while, and then with any luck there won't be any time left for the drudgery part.

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