Just Doin the washing Up.

At 56 I’ve come to realise I’m not like most blokes. I’m not much of a sports fan, don’t like beer, haven’t got a shed full of power tools, but I reckon, I’m the best dishwasher in Sunbury.  Some might say that cleaning pots and pans and shining cutlery is not much of a strong suit. We live in a society where we worship sportsman and the rich and famous but I reckon it’s time we started to applaud and acknowledge the effort it takes to tidy up the kitchen after a meal!  Sure those high marking footballers can bring a crowd to their feet. The rich and famous swan about at this premier or that and tell us how tough life was on the set. But I wonder if any of them know Morning Soft is the best dishwashing liquid or that microfiber cloths leave your benchtops sparkling! Somehow I can’t picture Brad Pitt rocking home from a night at the Oscars and knocking over the dishes before he hits the hay.

For me doing the washing up isn’t a chore. I get a real sense of achievement out of that simple little task. Over the years I feel I’ve become, at the risk of sounding boastful, something of an expert. I reckon I’ve tried every dishwashing liquid on the market. I can spot a set of shonky rubber gloves from ten feet away. And the amount of knowledge I have about tea towels, well, I really shouldn’t brag. But while were on the subject, next weeks blog will be a discussion on cotton vs linen!

A couple of months back while perusing the cleaning products at the supermarket I found the holy grail of rubber gloves. As I reached up and took hold of the , ‘ Tough Task Outdoor Heavy Duty babies,’ I knew my quest for the top was in sight. While other blokes might have bought them to paint a fence, I got em because I knew I could have my washing up water as hot as hell. I reckon I could use  those gloves could handle molten steel. If there’s ever a nuclear attack on this country it’ll just be me, the cockroaches and my Hercules gloves. But for the princely sum of $3.98 I’ve taken my exploits in the kitchen sink to a new height. Our plates almost dry themselves upon hitting the rack and our cutlery sparkles like diamonds,

My daughter has one of those whiz-bang dishwashing machines and when I go up for a visit she makes me load up the white and silver beast claiming, ‘ It really does save time dad.’ Now I’m not a time and motion expert but I reckon by time you bugger about stacking everything into those silly racks I could have washed them by hand gave them the once over with the terry towel and be back in the recliner eating dessert. And anyway I reckon doing the washing up by hand is a nice way to say, ‘ Thanks for feeding me.’

I guess I’m just old-fashioned. Or maybe my obsession with washing up  dates back to my days as a kitchen hand at the restaurant where I had my first job. There were no machines, just a grumpy old chef telling you to talk less and wash more. The plates and cups like the insults from the chef de mason, just kept on coming. Once in a blue moon these days  I have a night off from the dishes and my stepkids do the job. They  grown about how many dishes there are and carry on like washing up is a punishment . I wonder how they would have gone doing the pile  after a wedding reception where they’ve had four courses and there’s 130 of the buggers. The other kitchen hand and I used to take turns of washing and drying and used the spurs of the chef to set speed records.

These days I don’t race the clock. I enjoy the task. I think about the day that was. Think about my bride who cooks for me and cares for me. Sometimes when I wash up I think about writing, about the past, about the future. There’s something about putting our kitchen back in order, something about a stack of clean plates that symbolises order in the messy kitchen of my mind. So if you’re looking for peace don’t worry about taking up yoga. Just get some morning fresh a good pair of gloves and keep your water hot!

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9 thoughts on “Just Doin the washing Up.

  1. Hi Barry, you have a kindred spirit in the washing up stakes – me! I really enjoy washing up – the tactile nature of it, it’s kind of meditative and yes, I too find it a reflective space plus the satisfaction of having a clean kitchen to boot! I am reminded of the practice of Mindfulness and bringing one’s attention and awareness to the now moment, whether it’s doing the dishes or playing the piano or whatever, it’s really about being present and grateful. Cheers, David Pedlar

  2. Barry, another entry on your blog which brings a knowing smile and a ‘random’ laugh (as my daughter would say). I really must head out to Coles and get myself a pair of those gloves for some pure bliss in the kitchen this weekend! Have a good one – Cheers, Jane.

  3. Hi Barry, I’m so with you here (except that I do have a dishwasher and I love it) but the sense of achievement that comes with putting the kitchen back in order after a meal resonates with me. I included a prayer titled ‘At the kitchen sink’ in my book Soul Sisters because like you I have a sense of appreciation that comes from being fed and sharing a meal with others. Sometimes the most mundane chores can be great periods of reflection. Enjoying your blog immensely and looking forward to cotton vs linen. Cheers, Lucia

  4. Gidday Barry, first up, wishing you and family a very merry, joyous, safe, healthy, prosperous Christmas and New Year – and lookin’ forward to another Writing group.

    It is interesting how those we connect with, if ever so briefly, can touch our lives in a meaningful, significant and profound way, such was the case with Jenny. She shared her passion and creativity generously with others – an encouraging, embracing, engaging presence. She stirred me about not sending my postcard off in the exercise you set us in the writing group. So recently I picked up some postcards for her – they will now be postcards from heaven.

    The moments we share are indeed sacred, the spaces and people with whom we choose to share our lives and hearts. I’m seeing my mum tomorrow for her birthday and Christmas, evermore acutely aware of how precious each moment is.

    Your writing always seems to evoke and celebrate the humanity that we all share, a reminder to ‘smell the roses’, or as I was fortunate enough to do today, inhale the sweet perfume of jasmine.

    Cheers mate,
    David Pedlar

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