Category Archives: Cleaning


You really must do the ironing. And you must tidy the linen press. Fold the towels this way, so that the fold is on the visible side. It’s neater that way. If you’ve got some, pop some lavender in there. Smile – you’ve done a good job.

Mum ironed all our clothes, table linens and doilies. She even ironed tea towels and dish cloths.

When my father left, and money was tight – this is how Mum earned some extra cash. It seems not everyone loved ironing as much as my Mum.

She ironed by the hour, not by the basket. A basket of shirts is faster than a basket of fiddly baby outfits, she would say. Smart woman my Mum.

Marking Your Territory

‘Don’t forget to wipe the bench and the stove when you’re done please’.

‘But why? They’re not even dirty.’

‘Because, you need to mark your territory after you’ve used the kitchen. Just like when you first come into the kitchen and start to cook – you need to start by wiping the benches. That’s just what us women do.’

‘Yes… Muuuummmm….’

Spring Cleaning

Lovely day again. I did the washing – changed the beds, etc. Also cleaned out the kitchen drawers and the pantry.

– Diary, Tuesday 15th August 1989

Winter is almost over and time to spring clean. I like spring cleaning. I did a few windows yesterdays, but the outside ones are a problem.

– Diary, Thursday 24th August 1989

I tidied up all the area behind our gates today… There is actually cement paths underneath all that grass.

– Diary, Wednesday 30th August 1989

We have had some great weather. Spring has finally sprung.

– Diary, Tuesday 5th September 1989

The first few days of sunshine would trigger a restlessness in Mum. Lists would be written, plans would be made. And the cleaning would begin.

It would start slowly – sheets, towels, linens washed and ironed and put away. Then the floors, kitchen and pantry. Then the windows and the garden.

When we were older, and could help Mum – this period would all be squashed into one weekend: Bathurst weekend. Mum always watched the race on Sunday, and she could only do that once Spring Cleaning had been finished. It meant a full day of cleaning – all hands on deck – on the Saturday.

This is a tradition which we will carry on – we all get a little restless around Bathurst weekend. After all, there are lists to write, plans to make…

Dropping a Glass

It was a few months ago when my little brother called my Mum.

‘Mum, this might be a weird question.’

‘Ok – ask away’.

‘Did I imagine this, or do you use a piece of bread to pick up the little pieces of glass after you’ve swept up the big bits?’

I remember Mum’s face glowing. ‘You didn’t imagine it. That is exactly right. The glass sticks to the bread – even the teeny, tiny bits you miss with the broom’.

‘Thanks Mum. I thought I was going crazy for a minute there.’

She said later that she didn’t know what made her prouder – the fact that my little brother had remembered a lesson, or that he had first used a broom and swept the floor.