The Systems Administrator, not to be outdone, fell upon the sinks with Viakal and removed vast deposits of whatever strange mineral residue it is that our water leaves on any surface it touches even briefly. I don't understand our water. This is not a chalky area, and we don't have classically hard water, but something in it solidifies into ferocious white and green mounds around the bases of taps and round all plugholes. The kettle doesn't just have scale inside it, it has dribbles of scale down the outside as well. I wipe and scrub fairly ineffectually, and make periodic efforts with the limescale remover, but I didn't have time to do more than clean the kitchen sinks before the last lot of visitors, and was tempted to do the same again today. Thanks to the SA's good offices suddenly they're back to bare metal.
I did however clean the glass divide between the inner and outer halls with glass polish. I have read that you can achieve a perfectly good finish with newspaper and vinegar. I have also read that your entire house will then smell of vinegar. And I crawled around the wooden floors wiping off the odd rings where one of us slopped a drink, and various stains left by the cats into whose nature it was better not to enquire too closely.
You could consider it rather pitiful that we end up spending forty-eight hours cleaning the house before we can go on holiday. But cleaning has to be done sometime, and we'll get most of the benefit when we get back since the house sitters will clear up after themselves. The trouble is that if house cleaning is not very far up your list of things to do, the main thing that concentrates the mind is the prospect of visitors, and people who are going to live in the house for a week are going to see a lot more of it than guests who are only round for the evening. As you usher them briskly through the hall they might not notice the alluvial deposit on the telephone table. By broad daylight and given a week to consider the matter they probably will, and they will need to look in your cutlery drawers.
Now the place is fit to leave our thoughts can turn delightfully to the pleasures in prospect in north Yorkshire. Ruins, lots of ruins. And stately homes. And steam trains. And the Dales scenery. I will blog about the best bits in due course, but not necessarily every day, since part of the point of being on holiday is that you don't have to do anything.