The Way We Were in the Isle

Colin Ella. Picture: Liz Mockler E0856LM
Colin Ella. Picture: Liz Mockler E0856LM

You never seem to hear the expression ‘spring cleaning’ today.

All the modern gadgetry available to clean homes now has put paid to that old time annual war on dust and muck.

I remember that around Spring time it was wise to keep out of my mother’s way. It was a time of misery for menfolk as they wandered from room to room seeking a bit of peace.

Windows flew open and turbanned women with forearms like ostrich legs shook out sheets, blankets and pillow cases, thumped pillows and cushions vigorously, walloped carpets and rugs unmercifully, and the scrubbing brush wondered if it would survive the ordeal.

My own part in the proceedings was to hang carpets over the washing line and beat them with the copper stick. No nook or cranny was safe as the onslaught began and raged from back to front and top to bottom of the house.

Chimneys were swept, fenders polished, ornaments washed, mattresses aired alfresco, wardrobes dragged from walls and dust sheeted, ceilings de-grimed and walls scraped ready for re-papering. Fireplaces were black-leaded, furniture washed in vinegar and water and polished with beeswax.