Cellardyke: cleaning at the warzone

A very messy kitchen
A very messy kitchen on its way to becoming a very tidy and clean kitchen. (Photograph on my Nokia 5140i.)

Here’s how it works in our partnership: I do the cleaning and Jane does the painting. There’s no point in us sticking to the stereotypes because I like cleaning and Jane likes painting. So that’s the way we usually do it. And today was no different.

I stayed in the kitchen for about five hours putting all our dishes through the dishwasher and scrubbing clean the utterly disgusting pots and pans (more on those in a minute) and Jane confined herself to upstairs, first cleaning the bathroom (for which she should receive a medal) and then wiping off the marks on the walls and paintwork, and then painting the radiators:

Jane painting the radiator in the bedroom
Jane painting the radiator in the main bedroom. (Photograph on my Nokia 5140i.)

The house still stinks of smoke and goodness knows what else. The first thing we did when we arrived was fling wide the windows and doors to get a good airflow through the house; the front door was on the chain all day. It seems to have done the trick. At least it smells a lot better, and the carpet cleaners a week on Monday (12 December) will hopefully help. We’ve had to take down all the curtains to have them cleaned, and the duvets too returned to Edinburgh with us this evening.

In the kitchen I cleaned everything. With bleach.

Empty cupboards
Old Mother Hubbard helped me clean out the cupboards this afternoon. (Photograph on my Nokia 5140i.)

I emptied the cupboards, washed down the cupboards, washed the outside of the cupboards and put everything that was in the cupboards through the dishwasher, on a 65° C cycle. I felt at times like Lady Macbeth, “Out damn smell!”

Here is my Top 5 cleaning products:

  1. Bar Keeper’s Friend – it claims to clean where others fail and it hasn’t let me down yet. (5/5)
  2. Kitchen Power – an amazing fluid that cleaned all the gunk off the pots and pans (both stainless steel and non-stick). That and 70 minutes of hard scrubbing with abrasive sponges. (4/5)
  3. Hot water – very effective on its own, and with the products above. Also has the advantage of not poisoning the water table! (4/5)
  4. Flash with bleach – good old Flash! Good old bleach! (4/5)
  5. Mr Muscle Kitchen Cleaner – claimed to kill bacteria. I was taking any help I could get! (3/5)

While cleaning out the store cupboard in the kitchen (where I also discovered that they’d snapped the broom handle!) I discovered an empty can of beer (or similar alcoholic beverage — the subtle differences between ale, beer, lager and stout, I’m sorry to say escape this non-drinker).

Warzone
The word “warzone” can be seen written on this Polish beer can. The word seemingly means ‘brewed’. (Photograph on my Nokia 5140i.)

The writing on the beer can was in Polish and, I’m not sure if you can make this out very well in the photograph above, has the word “WARZONE” written on it. Which pretty much describes the state of the house before we arrived!

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Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 46 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Latterly, web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall. Currently on sabbatical. I am a priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, and I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir.

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