‘One man’s cre­ativ­ity is an­other man’s ver­min prob­lem,’ says Mi­randa McMinn

Woman & Home - - Family Life -

Have you ever taken a toaster and shaken it vi­o­lently up­side down over a per­fectly clean work sur­face? No? Nei­ther have I, on the ba­sis it would be an act of lu­nacy. yet that’s what each mem­ber of my fam­ily seems to do pretty much every time my back is turned. a coat­ing of crumbs ap­pears mirac­u­lously, as if the kitchen is one gi­ant chicken esca­lope. some­times I re­turn home to find the crum­bage has seem­ingly ar­rived with­out any­one be­ing in the house (un­til I find my old­est has “popped” back from school for lunch – and given me a lit­tle tidy-up job to add to my ar­du­ous work­load. aww, thanks love!).

In the hi­er­ar­chy of my house­hold, I feel like the role I per­form is one of Jack­son Pol­lock’s stu­dio as­sis­tant, who clears up just to cre­ate a clean can­vas for the Master (or Mis­tress – I have three daugh­ters) to work their magic upon.

Mess is not creative – it’s a life­sap­ping force that every day is drain­ing me fur­ther of the will to live. “a tidy house is the sign of a wasted life” is not just ir­ri­tat­ing, it is fake news. be­cause tidi­ness is merely the sign of a home that’s not fac­ing an im­mi­nent visit from Ren­tokil. one man’s cre­ativ­ity is an­other man’s ver­min prob­lem.

this brings me to the fridge, which in our house, un­less I per­form a thricedaily audit, is like open­ing the door onto a Hierony­mus bosch paint­ing. there are suf­fer­ing souls hid­ing be­hind jars that some­one re­fuses to throw away as there might be a nanogram of jam/mar­malade/may­on­naise left. the tara­masalata (full of toast crumbs, nat­u­rally), is tee­ter­ing with its lid half off on top of a sa­chet of bbQ sauce “saved” from the last visit to McD’s.

the theme of tee­ter­ing piles car­ries through quite nicely to the cup­boards, where any­one who emp­ties the dish­washer that isn’t called Mi­randa McMinn art­fully ar­ranges a din­ner plate on top of a ce­real bowl, both bal­anc­ing on an egg cup; while be­hind an­other door a grater stands on an up­side-down cake tin within a half-size bak­ing tray.

It’s like a GCsE art group is about to turn up and start draw­ing it for a still life. “For good­ness sake, round things go with other round things – is it so hard?”

My fam­ily think shut­ting a door is an un­eco­nom­i­cal use of en­ergy, on the grounds that soon you will have to open it again. Ditto draw­ers. Mean­while on the shelf, light bulbs and bat­ter­ies await the mir­a­cle of res­ur­rec­tion – so don’t even think about throw­ing them away.

and I haven’t even got out of the kitchen. Don’t get me onto coats piled on ban­is­ters and shoes hurled into cor­ners in the man­ner of a gi­ant char­ity shop. I feel like sisy­phus, for­ever labour­ing to push the rock up the hill for it to roll back down again. For me, one of life’s great­est plea­sures is to sit and sur­vey a tidy room.

the odd thing is that the brief pe­riod when I lived alone, I wasn’t per­fect. I still had odd socks, wash­ing-up left un­done, a bit of dust on a pile of books. and, trag­i­cally, I wasn’t very creative ei­ther!

so maybe I’ll just put up with my bunch – even if all that they’re cre­at­ing is a big bloody mess, and all that

I’ve cre­ated is them.

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