Today my sister forced me against my will to drive her 6 miles north of Portsmouth and help her clean a house. Well, not really, she sort of asked and I sort of sighed like Kevin the teenager and agreed knowing full well if I didn’t she’d have to take her pink Hetty hoover on the bus. If I could have taken surreptitious photographs while she glared evilly at the noisy school children and the inevitable stinky person (there’s always one per journey) then I would have. But that’s a bit mean even for me. So I said yes.
We knew the house was going to be a bit neglected because the owner has little time to do anything but my sis assured me it just needed a bit of a spruce up and regular cleans thereafter. It was very, very, very dusty, not unlike my house gets every week, or rather how my house would get if I left it for about two months. But really that was the worst of it, it wasn’t dirty in any way, just a little untidy and, as I said, incredibly dusty. And I had a serious bout of house envy.
All my life I’ve wanted to live in a big house. When I was a child we lived on a council estate in a 3 bedroomed box. Nothing wrong with that except I went to a private school and all my friends lived in what appeared to be mansions with huge gardens. All of them. So my dream was to have a massive house with huge rooms and high ceilings and en-suite bathrooms and whatever else I felt I would need. I didn’t necessarily want a lottery winner’s gaff with all poncey gold taps and ostentatious tackiness. No, I just wanted what my friends at school had.
Today’s house was a modern, 4 bedroomed detached number with a double garage, lovely spacious rooms downstairs, good sized bedrooms, a conservatory, a utility room, downstairs loo, en-suite to the master bedroom. It had a lovely garden. And a hot tub! I sound like a bloody estate agent. But (apart from the dust) it was great, the bathrooms were swanky, the carpets were sumptuous and it was light, bright and airy. Most unlike modern houses usually are. I was surprised, especially as I usually prefer old, more solidly built houses. I coveted it. Or one like it, a bit closer to the centre of town.
The strange thing is that my house is bigger. It definitely is. My house also has 4 bedrooms. Two of those are massive, probably twice the size of the modern house’s master bedroom. We have an en-suite. My kitchen is huge. We don’t have a conservatory but our second living room has a large patio door overlooking our unusually (for Southsea) large garden. We even have a cellar. We have very high ceilings and some stunning original cornicing and ceiling roses. But now I have the large house I always craved as a child I don’t think I really appreciate it. The fact that there’s no parking and all the people that go drinking in Albert Road at the weekend park here drives us mad. The kitchen and bathrooms could do with being updated as could the decor in my bedroom. And it’s an absolute bugger to clean. Not once when I was a child did I consider, not even for a second that some poor bugger would have to clean the massive house of my dreams. Especially not me with my housework aversion condition (laziness). It’s ridiculous really, like anything in life the grass is always greener…