The game show contestant

Having guests on a Saturday evening always causes the same problem. Lacking the time during the week to get the housework done, it always finishes as a race against the clock a couple of hours before they arrive. This time, I had decided that it would be different. I would find a spare moment on Friday to wash all the abundant spots of fly pooh off the lights above the dining-room table, clean windows and forcibly evict all the toys and junk from the lounge area. I would tidy up the bedrooms to showroom standard and thus be able to give my guests a tour of the house. Of course, it wasn’t to be and I found myself in my usual position of a contestant on a game show. The challenge: A race against the clock to get the house presentable and dinner cooked for 7 p.m.:

Saturday morning 8 a.m. Have a lie in and leisurely shower, I have got all day after all. I contemplate the conflict of interests that weekends are for relaxing and not for housework.

10 a.m. Decide to prioritise the lounge, then spend an hour cleaning the fridge, which is good initiative but disappointing in that sparkling fridge will not be admired by guests.

11 a.m. Cook lunch, eat, clear up

2 p.m. Help kids with homework.

3 p.m. Go out and pick a lettuce from the garden for dinner this evening. Decide to get some fresh air as being indoors all day isn’t good for you. Spend a while watching my husband make hay bales.

4 p.m. Realise that I have only one hour left before my 5 p.m. deadline when I must start cooking. Rush in, start cleaning fly pooh off the lights in dining-room.

5 p.m. Time to start cooking, but can’t get into the kitchen because have just washed the floors and the tiles are still wet. Decide to give the loo and the bathroom the once over. Abandon thought of tidying bedrooms and idea of guided tour.

6 p.m. Am now in full game show mode and the clock is ticking. I need to shower the kids and feed them before guests arrive. The lamb isn’t ready to go in the oven, I haven’t peeled potatoes or put the duster round.

6.30 p.m.My husband arrives, recognises the signs and keeps his distance. He starts peeling spuds.

6.45 p.m. Turn on hoover and run from room to room, cursing that it does not suck up dirt fast enough.

6.57 p.m. Headlights are coming up the road. The buggers are early. Belt into bedroom, sling on clean jeans and top and drag brush through hair.

6.59 p.m  Hear steps in the courtyard. Pelt into the lounge and shove remaining junk into the dresser. There is a knock. I kick remaining shoes into the cupboard on the way to the front door and run sleeve over dust on the telephone. The buzzer sounds “Time up, contestant n°1”. I open the door.

“Lovely to see you, no, no, its been no trouble at all!”.

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