Waterloo…

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Image © Miceking | Dreamstime.com

For several months now, the battle of the brush has been raging in our Belgian household. Perhaps it’s my Virgo sensibilities which are not jiving with adolescent male standards for toilet hygiene, or perhaps it’s because I expect cleanliness before godliness. God knows I expect the loo to be flushed! 

Whatever the reason, every second week that we have the kids I find myself waging a campaign of Napoleonic proportions with regard to the downstairs toilet.  One revelation of moving countries and sharing a house with The Belgian and his boys is that I am able to set my watch by their bowel movements. Regular as clockwork. Yeah, I know…possibly a bit too much information!  

Nonetheless, I make this claim as it means I can also predict what will happen should I need to avail myself of the facilities.  Picture this scenario...desperate for a pee, I head to the nearest loo, only to find it resembling a Calcutta hell-hole. Cue a loud shriek from me and lengthy discussions with my husband, who shares my views on clean loos, but seems less bothered by this than I am.  I am extremely bothered by this…

Clearly the second revelation of living in a male-dominated household is that the sexes have opposing views on what is acceptable in terms of keeping things spic and span in the smallest room in the house…

We tried a cordon sanitaire, complete with photographic evidence. No discernible effect!  We tried logic and an appeal to their better selves. No discernible effect!  Were they doing this deliberately?  Was I being unreasonable? I didn’t think so. However, in the absence of an outside portaloo and a mandatory bidet regimen, I was ready to pack my things and move back to a place where the throne room really sparkles…

It all came to a head this week. Yes, I’d really had enough of other peoples crap! Sensing my distress, The Belgian, who is ever resourceful, has now come up with an incentive plan to ensure that brushing happens after flushing. No skid-marks means a bonus on pocket money, but only if both toilets are spanking clean. Where there’s no muck, there is definitely brass. Meanwhile, I have drafted in reinforcements with industrial amounts of toilet cleaner. And if that fails…well, I can always use the boys’ toothbrushes to polish the bowl!

Guilty pleasures…

I was catching up with a friend over a glass – or two – of red wine at our local establishment, and happened to mention  I’d got a particular thrill this week when I bought my new vacuum cleaner.  Sigh…I do live the high life here in the coastal reaches… but  before you begin to think this is an OCD homage to dust reduction, I should put you right.  If cleanliness is next to godliness, then I am not on my way to heaven just yet.  Like most busy people, my home is not immaculate, and often untidy. Although now it is definitely no longer dusty.

I do however get  a perverse pleasure from clean kitchens and bathrooms. So my worktops are scrubbed and my sink is shiny.  I am  also the only person I know who enjoys cleaning the loo.  Since I live by myself, it’s probably just as well.  I’m not sure I could cope with someone who left the seat up. Of course, this got me thinking about all the other things I like doing. Guilt-free pleasures. Small, and relatively harmless.  Unless you happen to be a French macaroon, in which case you will only last as long as it takes me to open the patisserie box. 

Modern life can be utterly rubbish. Being a grown up is hectic and complicated at times. The point is we all need some measure of escape once in a while. So it’s just as well I have an outlet or two. Some people take up  macrame to give them peace and the ability to turn string into bad-taste wall hangings. Each to his own. As for me, I like reading crime fiction on holiday. Going for long walks along the shoreline where I live. Listening to the sparrows in my garden. Cloud-spotting on a sunny day. Eating Nougat while watching diet programmes on TV. The list is unlikely to cause alarm, though a psychiatrist may wonder about that last one!  Now, where did I leave that toilet brush.