Inefficient Housekeeping

From Ngaire’s journal, 30th July 1949
Carol spent the day at a school friend’s house. It was Carol’s first experience of inefficient housekeeping and by the time she arrived home she had ‘had it’.”

I’m so pleased that my children have been able to experience inefficient housekeeping in the privacy of their own home. I wouldn’t want them to get a nasty shock when they go out into the world.

My grandparents’ beautiful orchard, Prestons Road, Christchurch. (Photo probably taken in the 60s.)

What is giving them a nasty shock is all this cold, wet rain (‘can you drive me to school?‘) After years of drought here in Melbourne, it’s odd to be needing rain coats and umbrellas (and amazing how quickly we’ve learnt to complain about it again).

Ngaire was well used to contending with wet weather. Christchurch is a spectacularly beautiful place, especially on a clear day.
I remember on the orchard at Prestons Road, sometimes the Port Hills seemed to be so close you could touch them. Still, it does know how to put on a cold, wet day, which is why Ngaire had this incredibly toxic recipe for waterproofing clothes which you absolutely MUST NOT try at home.

Better wet than dead I think.

3 thoughts on “Inefficient Housekeeping

  1. That is hilarious, I wonder what Granny would make of my home, and general lack of housekeeping…at least I keep the garden looking nice. I think you’re being a little melodramatic re the waterproofing solution though – it didn’t kill her!!


  2. Fantastic Michelle. Had an out-loud chuckle at your first sentence (while I glanced around at my own inefficient house-keeping).
    BTW, what on earth is sugar of lead, and where can I buy powdered aluminium??


  3. Glad you asked Saskia!
    Well, sugar of lead (or lead acetate) is a sweet crystalline substance used as a dye fixative. Evidently the ancient Romans used it to sweeten wine. According to the Smithsonian magazine blog (, ‘there is debate as to whether the wine alone could have produced the traditional physiological effects of lead poisoning, such as organ failure, infertility and dementia—the little things that help facilitate the fall of an empire.’

    As for powdered aluminium, you might need to grind down some old saucepans. Or just stick to your raincoat!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s