In praise of the domestic arts

When I talk about the ‘domestic arts’, I’m not just talking about the ironing. I’m talking about everything that goes into the management of a household and the nurturing of the family that resides within it. From the construction and maintenance of a dwelling to the growing and preserving of food, from the management of the household budget to the raising of the next generation. And, yes, the ironing. These are all essential skills. But we’re losing them.

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The power of personal recommendation

If you need to find a tradesperson, the internet is there for you. Whether it’s a Google search, an online directory or one of the many ‘accredited tradesperson’ websites that have sprung up over the last few years, there’s no shortage of options. What there is, however, is a shortage of knowing which of the resulting names and phone numbers you can trust to do a good job.

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Dog chef

My wife, Natalie, and I try to share fairly between us the various chores and activities that come with managing the household. I’m responsible for building maintenance, cars, dog stuff, utilities, bins/recycling, insurance and such like. I also, lest it be said that I just do the ‘man’ stuff, have responsibility for the cleaning, the ironing and the purchasing of ‘storecupboard’ items from the local plastic-free shop.

Natalie, meanwhile, oversees the laundry, the regular food shopping and the organisation of the weekly food plan. We share the cooking between us, depending on (a) our daily schedules and (b) how much of it can be done in the microwave. But we realised the other day that one of my primary roles has hitherto gone sorely unrecognised.

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Actually, this IS a drill

I think it’s fair to say that power tools and I don’t have the best of working relationships. I don’t like the noise they make, the dust they create or the speed at which they compel me to do things. And my wife isn’t a massive fan of the damage that they cause me to leave in my wake. But of all the power tools, my absolute nemesis has to be the hammer-action drill. Thankfully, I have recently found a way to tame this particular beast. A bit, anyway.

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Every day’s a Tuesday

The COVID-19 outbreak and the current lockdown appear to be taking their toll on my ability to measure time. Natalie put it best the other day, when she announced that, essentially, ‘every day’s a Tuesday’. The hours, days and weeks roll together into one long period of foggy uncertainty. Thankfully, though, I’m slowly finding ways to manage my temporal confusion and to keep things on track. Continue reading