It isn’t quite true, of course; strictly speaking, spring doesn’t begin until the vernal equinox on the 20th of the month. But the days are growing longer, the daffodils are brightening our parks and gardens and spring is, after all, the season of romance, so I thought we’d jump ahead and celebrate with a spring-themed Wondering this week. Also, it gives me a great excuse to give my cat Chester his moment, although as you can tell from the photo he wasn’t impressed!
The whole business of spring is steeped in ritual and tradition, and if folklore’s your thing, there’s certainly no shortage of that. Did you know, for example, that the equinox is the only day when an egg can be stood on end? No, neither did I…
One ritual we’re all familiar with is spring cleaning, which dates back centuries and has its place in every culture. In ancient Persia they called it khooneh tekouni, which literally means ‘shaking the house’. I like that. But whatever its origins, spring cleaning is still a dot on the calendar in many homes today, especially for the older generation.
So, on to this week’s Wondering, a two-parter:
– What does spring mean to you?
– Kirstie Allsopp triggered a mini media furore when she declared her love of ironing. Whether you spring-clean or not, what’s your favourite, and least favourite, household chore?
The Write Romantics scrubbed up these answers:
Spring means to me, Mothers Day, daffodils, bluebells, hints of summer to come (wishful thinking), snowdrops, cherry blossom on the trees, walks through the woods, relief that the nights are getting lighter and a general sense of well being that winter is finally over.
My favourite household chore would be, erm let me think? Nope, sorry I can’t think of a single household chore that I enjoy doing. They are to me a chore and take up my precious writing time.
My least favourite chore is cleaning the windows. I don’t know why I picked a house that had four windows in the living room; it’s an absolute nightmare. Talking about cleaning windows I should probably make an attempt at cleaning them because everything outside is a blur at the moment and I don’t want to miss my gorgeous bluebells when they flower in my front garden.
There’s a lovely feeling of coming out of hibernation in spring. With the first daffodils and crocuses I feel like I can look forward to longer days, warmer weather and putting my winter coat away. As I live in Yorkshire there’s a good chance that it’ll be another month yet before the winter coat gets shoved to the back of the wardrobe but I always feel more hopeful in spring and that I’ll get me through any unpredictable days that March may throw at me.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say I love ironing but it’s probably my favourite chore. I usually do it while catching up on the Radio 2 Folk Show on the iPlayer. I’m pretty rubbish at all other forms of housework but I particularly hate window cleaning mainly because they always look worse after I’ve done them.
I’m not a “cleaner upper” type person and in fact now have a cleaner after years of ‘almost’ arguments in our family that were mostly down to the state of the house. I was mortified once when a handy man asked where the hoover was so he could hoover bits of wood shavings up, and I didn’t even knows how it worked ( husband seemed to like hoovering so I was happy to let him do it, although “like” is probably not the word he would use!) The cleaner has never cleaned my ‘office’ cos it is too full of paper, computers, computer bags, cushions I no longer want and general debris of life. Spring makes no difference to this. It could be shaking all the newly opened buds on the planet in my face and I would still find something better to do than spring-clean the house.
The only housework chore I ever almost quite liked, (but not really) was ironing. That was in my singleton days when I would only iron what I was going to wear that night and more likely than not had a glass of wine on the go and U2 thrumming away in the background. I did quite like Fairground Attraction too- remember them? ‘It’s Got to Beeee… Perfect! Ahh, those were the days!
I like the cold weather but I like the sunshine so spring for me is a lovely season because the temperature increases but not to the extent that you’re all sticky and tired (which I hate about hot summer days). I love the colours that start appearing in gardens and I adore seeing the sides of roads become a sea of daffodils. So simple. So pretty. Hate it when they die and you’re left with this overgrown patch of mess, though!
As for the other part to your question, I love Kirstie but I think we’re going to have to disagree with each on this because ironing is the grimmest of tasks. I hate it. My poor daughter has often had to go to school in an un-ironed blouse or polo shirt (“just put a pinafore on; nobody will be able to tell!”) because I’ve failed abysmally to do it over the weekend. I can just about cope with it if I put a film on and focus on that instead. Oh, and don’t get me started on hoovering ….
Ah spring! It blows all the cobwebs of winter away doesn’t it? I ride with riding for the disabled once a week and there is a point in spring where snowdrops and primroses replace the wonderful world of funghi and crisp, brittle branches. My favourite of all is the violets though. I love the scented varieties and the beautiful purple colour. I have a vision of an Edwardian lady selling bunches from a basket in Covent Garden. Maybe I’ll put her in a book one day.
I have to say I am not great at housework and very rarely iron. Clothes that deliberately have the crinkled look to my mind are the greatest thing since sliced bread! I get by with doing just a minimum. Well, I gotta find time to write somehow haven’t I?
Spring to me means bluebells. The woodland that surrounds the countryside near my home becomes carpeted in top-heavy, nodding flowers which push aside the fallen leaves from autumn and winter and herald that warmer weather is on the way. At least that’s the theory!
As for spring cleaning, I hate all housework. That’s it. Full stop. Spring to me, though, also means that no matter how much I hate it, the windows need cleaning! I love the return (hopefully) of more regular sunshine, but it does show up every water mark, sticky finger or dog-nose print on the glass and you can see fine particles of dust dancing in the afternoon sun that streams through. Perhaps I should just do more cleaning and less writing…
Spring to me means light, uplifting days and beautiful weather that’s neither too hot nor too cold. Spring and Autumn are easily my favourite seasons in Australia for this reason.
I don’t spring clean necessarily but I do have regular “clear outs” where I throw lots away, give away items to charity and maybe put something on ebay. My least favourite household chore would have to be cleaning the bathrooms…they take forever! I do actually like vacuuming though…there’s something satisfying about seeing the dirt disappear before your very eyes 🙂
It’s a cliché, I know, but spring gives me that lovely feeling of starting afresh, with the garden coming to life and the sun just warm enough to have my morning coffee outside. I love to see the primroses and bluebells appearing too. I have happy memories of plunging through woods gathering these flowers to take home, which of course was before we knew better and the woods were shut off, but enjoying them in their natural surroundings is just as special.
As for the chores, I’m kind of with Kirstie on the ironing. I don’t do it unless I have to – nor anything else housework-related – but I have been known to enjoy a spot of ironing as it’s a warm, peaceful kind of thing and I usually have the radio on, something calming like Woman’s Hour.
What do I hate? Plenty, really, but let’s say cleaning the bathroom because it only seems to look OK for about five minutes before it looks like it needs doing all over again – and there are only two of us in the house. How does grouting get that awful brown colour anyway? That’s one of life’s mysteries, if you ask me.
Spring. A time for clearing out the old and letting in the new and that is echoed in nature as the garden comes to life again after the long winter months. All winter, I long for the lengthening of the days, the warm sunshine and splash of colour as daffodils, primroses and other spring flowers push up from the cold earth.
It’s also a time for tidying up and when I get that urge nothing is safe. My usual quick whizz with the vacuum and flick of the duster goes out of the window. Items that have sat collecting dust, sometimes for a few years, are suddenly under the spotlight as I get into just about every corner I can. Thankfully, this sort of cleaning is only usually an annual occurrence; otherwise I’d never find the time to write!
So, that’s us. The Write Romantics clearly love flowers and all things spring-like – not so sure about the chores! Do join in with your comments – it’s great to hear from you.