Folk seem to fall into two categories about cleaning and Christmas. There are those who say there is not a lot of point in giving everywhere a thorough cleaning when all the decorations and pine needles are going to be creating a mess anyway. There are the other kind - of which I am one - who get delight in having everywhere spick and span before any decorations go up.
To this end I suggested to the farmer as we drove back from the market this morning, that he help me this afternoon to clean the utility room (where almost everyone enters the farmhouse, our front entrance being rarely used.) A look of horror passed over his face and he assured me that it was only about six weeks since it had had a thorough clean (I do have a cleaner each Monday who cleans it anyway). He was lying. I recognise a lie when it jumps into my ears and moving the long (and heavy) sideboard revealed a mountain of dust, cobwebs, dropped dog biscuits (which the dog has been trying to get at for weeks) and so much dirt that even the farmer had to admit that 'maybe it was a little longer since the sideboard had been moved out.'
This was followed (the whole joint operation took no longer than three quarters of an hour) by cleaning the vestibule - the front entrance, rarely used but with a beautiful tiled floor which does need an occasional wash. So the vestibule was duly cobwebbed, mopped and thoroughly cleaning. Windows were also cleaned and now I feel a lot better.
There is a moral to this tale though. Thorough and rather frantic cleaning of ceiling corners, architraves, window frames and the like with a feather duster does eventually lead to a great deal of moulting of said duster. There are now so few feathers left that it would be a farce to use it for the purpose for which it was intended.
So a new one is on the shopping list for the next big clean behind the giant sideboard in the utility room. (easter?)
And speaking of moulting feather dusters reminds me that I must tell you of a wonderful advert which has been in the 'Pets for Sale' column of the newspaper this week. There is a high fashion here for certain cross-breed dogs like Yorkiepoo (miniature poodle/Yorkshire terrier) and Labradoodle (labrador/poodle). There has been an advert for Yorkiepoo dogs for sale which says they are 'non-melting' - obviously meaning 'non-moulting' - but can't help wondering whether they have been sold. The ad has disappeared.(or melted).
I'll sign off from my sparkling farmhouse - sitting and dining rooms to be attacked later - brass to clean, windows to clean etc. Once my cleaner has been on Monday, that is it - decorating will take place and we shall be ready for the celebrations.