When Girl was a tiny blonde thing, she would push the nozzle of the vacuum cleaner along the carpet and say ‘hoove, hoove, hoove,’ until the game of housework was trumped by a walk to the beach. Entertaining.
I have spent time without a vacuum cleaner, as I have lived without most appliances at some point. Unintentional yet educational: time spent sweeping carpets, thrashing rugs, boiling a pan for a cup of tea, cooking on an open fire, cooking in a woodburner, treading washing in the bath, making shadow puppet improvisations. (The washing machine, the internet and a hoover, if we must live with carpets, are the things I choose to keep most. In that order.)
Yesterday, after viewing the front room carpet, I trundled our hoover out. It is a small machine and for reasons of compactness the hose attaches to the body of it at a 90 degree angle. This bend gets blocked. To unblock, brave fingers must venture in, unsighted, and seize a clump of, hopefully, Dog hair. Yes, disgusting. I perform this procedure outdoors, sat on the doorstep, flailing a hose over the bin. Yes, it is mostly Dog hair. Also there’s that bit of courgette I dropped whilst piling the slow cooker (good machine) with veg and meat. Which is when it occurs to me that there’s something healthy about being close to dirt. One feels more connected, more responsible, more appreciative. I have revolting dust on my nose and one day, maybe, I will have a better machine: meanwhile this bad hoover helps me bond with my home.