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A clean start

124149901Now, ironic as it sounds, I am, on the sly, quite the domestic goddess. On paper at least. A few summers ago, under cover of darkness – as we both had proper jobs at the time – my friend Yvonne and I wrote a book about housework. It’s still there on my bookshelf, waiting to be consulted. Which brings me to my favourite joke of the summer, and Tim Vine’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival Joke of the Year, “I decided to sell my Hoover, well, it was just collecting dust” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-28837363). Boom boom.

I too have just got rid of two vacuum cleaners, because, unlike Mr Vine’s, they weren’t collecting enough dust, just sitting there in the corner collecting dirty looks. They haven’t exactly worn out so much as become obsolete. My most mortifying memory of using one is when Katy was still a toddler and I’d invited a new friend and her toddler round to play and thought I should make an effort. I had just switched the vacuum cleaner on when they arrived and the moment I opened the front door she came tearing down the stairs screaming: “Mum what’s that noise?”

So, it was time to offer them a new home. We don’t bother with Freecycle round here. We just put things outside the front door with a post-it on it saying: “Help yourself” and they just disappear. Sometimes you don’t even need the post-it. Especially if it’s a bike, or my neighbour’s extension lead!

So yesterday I put the two slightly tired but still functioning vacuum cleaners outside on my way to the bus stop and they were both gone before the bus arrived. So now we just have the one vacuum cleaner, a cheeky little blue and silver number, which we picked up from Argos because it was cheap and matched the curtains. Then I read that the EU is banning the sale of the most energy-sapping vacuum cleaners from September 1 to protect the environment (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-28878432).

Now I’m worried that our sleek new machine might be the domestic equivalent of a Chelsea Tractor – have I over reached myself? Are we harbouring an illegally powerful machine that is sucking the very life out of the ozone layer with its superior suction and huge engine? I tried to find out – the banned machines are those that use more than 1600W. Trouble is I cannot either by searching Google, or the machine itself, find out how powerful it is. Don’t ask me to check the instructions.

I lost those the day we bought it, which is why it’s still sitting there not collecting dust. Until Ella comes back from America no one dares switch it on. That’s fine by me. I’m always ready to do my bit for the environment.

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