hot water

When I was growing up – I was never a fan of washing the dishes. Now in my advanced age (downhill slope to forty…) it is an activity that I look forward to! Why the change? I do not know. I currently find it therapeutic. I grew up in a house with four siblings and with two parents, that made seven people and a great many cups, plates, cutlery, pots and pans. When we reached secondary school age my parents started a rota. My brothers, sisters and I would do the washing up on a weekly basis – from Friday until the following Thursday evening. This took the burden off somewhat, but it did mean that on Thursday before your Friday you would make sure that anything that needed washing was placed in a line on the worktop ready. If it was there on Thursday then it could not be for you to wash on Friday. I suppose it must have installed some sort of discipline in us…

I also wonder if the problem was the nature of the pots we had to wash. Being Nigerian we ate lots of, what I used to called, ‘powdered food’ i.e. àmàlà, iyan/pounded yam, gari /eba and ground rice. When I was younger I used to call ground rice – ‘granrice’. For some reason – even though I eat rice like there is no tomorrow – I hated ground rice with a passion. Sometimes I would be filled with nausea and horror when it was placed before me. Anyway, I digress! Removing the residue from a big pot ground rice was a tiring task with was completed by all of us with resignation.

Now I do not eat any of those foods – mainly I think because of the tedium of washing the pots afterwards. The other reason is that I cannot cook it as nice as my mother can. Neither can I make the stew that goes with, as tasty as the home-cooked version. Don’t get me wrong – I can make a decent attempt – but it’s not the same…

So what does my washing up consist of now? Pots of rice, dishes of salad, pasta, homemade pies, cereal bowls, bowls of cake mixture from my incessant baking. Washing up after each meal? Does not happen with the regularity with which it perhaps should do. On the other hand I never feel disheartened by a pile of dishes by the sink. It feels like an achievement to clear the whole lot away and wipe the counter top clean. What do I do while I wash up? Stare out the window. My little second floor flat overlooks a communal garden that none of my neighbours seem to use. Over the fence is the local park where I spent most of my child hood (I did not move far from home!). In that park is a bowling club and in the summer it is my favourite source of fascination – watching the octogenarians bowl away come rain or shine. They come and park in our road, walk in husband and wife pairs, all dressed up in their navy blazers, white trousers and skirts. Do I understand the rules of the game? No – not yet but maybe one day. Parallel to the park runs a major motorway and A-road (yes – one attraction when I bought the flat – good transport links!). At right angles to the motorway is the overground part of the underground line. Potentially a noisy situation but thanks to the distance and the double-glazing – I only hear a train rumble by from time to time.

So when I am up to my elbows in soap suds – I wonder about all the people whizzing by in trains and cars. I watch people take their dogs for walks and people jog around the park. Once in a while, I too jog/walk around the park but I guess I don’t make a habit of it! Perhaps when the summer rolls around I will be more inspired. Instead I will dream about it when I wash the pie dishes…

2 Comments Add yours

  1. I grew up with the same washing-up routine. We would put the clean stuff back on the other side of the sink for a laugh, and got the sponge thrown at us 🙂 I dream when I wash up, and make virtuous plans that never take shape in reality!

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