Housework makes you fat! Good – I always said a tidy house is a wasted life

Some cheery news for me last week – housework makes you fat. Well, sort of.

Thank you, University of Ulster study, for pointing out that housework is “inversely related to leanness”. It’s not intense enough to count as proper exercise.

Good. This study proves me right. I always thought that a tidy house is a wasted life. I don’t blame my parents. This wasn’t their philosophy. My mother often knackered herself cooking and cleaning, and my father cleaned up in a brisk, naval style. “Clear the decks!” he would cry, sweeping every speck of filth from all surfaces, once even including my mother’s false teeth, which she had foolishly left wrapped in tissue on the draining board.

But I am conflicted over the cleaning. I have wildlife to consider: the dog, tortoise, mice and spiders. They live here too, increasing my workload. I must vacuum up the dog-hair tumbleweed, and wash up meticulously at night, otherwise every mini-trace of food will be surrounded by a fairy ring of mouse poo in the morning.

But I do rather neglect the less vital areas, like bed-making, pile-sorting, dusting, laundry and spiders’ webs. Imagine the work that’s gone into them. Now that is admirable housework, and I don’t like to destroy it. From the hall ceiling a bluebottle dangles from a web. It looks unsightly, but suppose Mrs Spider comes home for her neatly wrapped dinner and it’s gone? So I’ve left it. Which also saves me the fag of getting the ladder and duster out.

Fielding’s standards are even lower than mine.”I’ll tell you where I’m good,” says he. “Shiny surfaces and the bath, with a wet J-cloth.” No soap. The bubbles mean tiresome extra work squeezing out cloths, and he also does the odd blitz. “I once did three rooms in seven minutes!” says he boastfully. “I don’t mess about.” Mrs Fielding is not impressed.

But I do recommend proper blitzing, which I do when I’m up to my neck in it. Then it’s all over for another few months, and surely intense enough for Ulster University. Win, win. Except for the tea and cake afterwards.

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