8 Jul 2012

Doing the dishes

I would not call myself a domestic goddess by any stretch - I am not terribly diligent about dusting and polishing, for example.

But there is one regular household chore that (thankfully) I actually quite enjoy: doing the dishes.

And I mean, the old-fashioned way, with hot sudsy water, washing up gloves (pink by preference), a thick sponge and a glamourously sparkly metallic scourer. Yes, I like washing the dishes by hand - even when it feels as if I have been standing at the sink again, and again, and again. I stack up the dish rack (on a serving tray lined with a couple of old tea towels to catch the drips), then drape over a pretty, time-faded embroidered tablecloth (I like doing the dishes but not seeing them). Let them air dry, then unpack, put them away, and start again.

No dishwasher for me. In fact, when I moved into my home seven years ago (seven years ago!), I had the dishwasher that was here disconnected, and I sold it to someone at work (my parents promptly bought me a bar freezer that fitted the space and my needs perfectly).

Washing the dishes is calming and meditative, even when the sink is full and the pile of used saucepans, bowls and spoons appears insurmountable. Perhaps it is the sense of purpose, work, achievement - you are doing something, you are moving the 'stuff' from one state to another, from being unclean in the sink to being clean and sparkly in the drainer. A to B (I also get this sense when I do the laundry, transforming the clothes from being dirty in the hamper to being folded neatly in the basket, ready to be put away).

Perhaps it is the hot suds. I use the hot tap only - and my hot H20 is very hot. A pair of gloves for armour (as I said, pink please) and I am good to go. I let my mind wander over the character in a book I am reading or a TV show I'll be watching once I'm finished at the sink, or turn over the conversations of the day. Sometimes I run through my to do list. Sometimes I 'write', composing sentences. And sometimes I just think about what I'm washing: where I got this wooden spoon from, the love I have for my big red le Creuset, the fact I have had this cutlery set for so many years but never tire of its clean modern lines.

Before I know it, the sink is empty, the windows are steamed up, and I can remove my kitchen apron, squeeze out the sponge and unpeel my pink gloves with a good sharp snap.

Dishes are done and 'kitchen closed', as my mother says, for another day.

Do you like doing the dishes too? What's your favourite household chore?


  1. My husband and I were just rating our list of favourite and least favourite chores the other night. I picked doing laundry and hanging it on the line as my favourites. I find hanging clothes out quite relaxing, actually. Sadly, I don't feel the same about doing dishes. We do have a dishwasher so the only things that get hand washed tend to be baking trays or bit pots that need scrubbing... It's a job I put off for days. There's a big pile there now, actually, taunting me with their unwashedness. I plan to continue pretending not to see them.

  2. Laundry is one of my faves too - especially when the weather permits to hang outside! I am very good at pretending not to see the vacuum cleaner, even if i put it in the middle of the hall and i have to walk over it to get anywhere.

  3. Anonymous10 July, 2012

    Hi E, from just up a flight of stairs and along the corridor. I shall try to remember your post when washing up my bits and pieces! Have added your blog to my favourites. Cheers BB

    1. Hello BB! Thank you very much. Just think: dishwashing is relaxing!


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