Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Grimey fairy tales

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photomike-e1285798033809Interior cleaning proceeds. I spent over a day finishing off the kitchen, attacking wall stains in the central downstairs hallway and finally addressing the gunge on the walls in the dining room (fittingly nicknamed the mess). Scrubbing brushes don’t seem to get enough traction on these surfaces; rags and scourers are the best tools for the job. If I run around and squirt the walls with a degreaser before bed, it really helps to reduce the amount of elbow grease I’ll need to work on them later.

I start each room by cleaning the ceiling beams with a shop-vac or cobweb broom. In France the latter is called a tête du loup or wolf’s head, which I find quite understandable given the amount of filth that Munson has been collecting this week. After that, I work my way around the room with rags and bucket of soapy water, cleaning to about the 2m level that I can reach. Then I get a stepladder and work my way around the room to do the higher (usually less greasy) sections of wall and make a second pass over the lower section. Add in wall-mounted cupboards, or charcoal and paraffin blackened sections over the fireplace and the work really adds up.

It’s over two days since I’ve passed through the farm gates, and aside from my tramp around the perimeter, I don’t think I’ve been out of my woolly ug slippers the whole time. Unlike poor Cinders who spent her days similarly scrubbing the hearth I won’t be going to a ball anytime soon, but we do have a link in our footwear. While most people are familiar with the tale of Cinderella through Charles Perrault’s version in the “Mother Goose Tales”, the glass slippers he wrote of may have been fur slippers in earlier accounts. Language Log gives some analysis of Perrault’s pantoufles de verre (glass slippers) versus the possibility of squirrel fur (vair) – or in other contexts ermine. Snopes’ description of ermine turns it to the very evocative winter weasel fur. Maybe Munson and Smeggs can turn out some loires/dormice for this purpose.

Sunset over the corral

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My nocturnal guests continue to increase in number and variety. By 11p my reading lamp is the only light source for at least a kilometre in every direction, so insects, bats and amphibians seek out my company.

1 comment:

  1. I can only smile. It's that last paragraph. :)

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