Cleanliness is next to godliness. So John Wesley preached in a sermon in 1778, though the idea is far older, and as I don't like cleaning very much and quite enjoy choral evensong on Radio 3 I was almost tempted by the injunction in The Times to go to church anyway on Easter Sunay, unbeliever or not. The Church of England is certainly broad enough to accommodate my woolly brand of agnosticism, and sometimes when I am with with those of my friends and acquaintances who are practicing Christians I wonder if I should accept the past fifteen hundred years of my country's history and simply join in. The brain's desire to reduce cognitive dissonance might mean that where behaviour went, belief would follow.
Instead I started on the cleaning, which has been waiting for the wet day that never came. Today's forecast looked about the rainiest, though in the event all we got was a miserable little spatter for a couple of hours from mid-afternoon, not enough to do the garden any good, but I resolutely ignored the sunny view from the kitchen as I wiped, scrubbed, and washed. I'd warned the Systems Administrator in advance that cleaning day was on Sunday, and that it was going to be a big one, and the SA nobly volunteered to do the vacuuming and made a really thorough job of it, lifting up the furniture and the rugs. The other kind of vaccuming is the rushed sort when you have people coming round and hastily do the visible bits, while knowing there are still drifts of cat fluff in the dim recesses under the desks.
I haven't finished. I am prone to hopeless over-optimism about how long jobs are going to take, though that may not be uniquely my problem so much as part of the human condition, and by half past six when I was absolutely knackered with cleaning and needed to get the supper on to cook I'd finished the kitchen, or as much of the kitchen as was on today's list, but not nearly done the bedroom. The SA showed further willing by wiping every flat surface in the sitting room with a damp cloth, removing a lot of cat footprints from the window sill in the process, so the sitting room is done, but not the hall, apart from cleaning the floor and washing the cats' blankets.
Apart from a general desire to be less scuzzy and tidier, and the fact that we have a guest coming round next week and I needed to clean the kitchen before jarring up some honey, my principal target this time is dust, which is why the limescale in the kitchen sink can wait to another day. After sniffing my way through the entire year so far I decided that this couldn't still be the effects of a cold, and Googled hayfever. Hayfever leads you straight to rhinitis, which is not a diagnosis per se so much as a description, like when I asked a GP what conjunctivitis actually was and he said it was the latin for red eye. What is causing the rhinitis is still a moot point, but the account of the symptoms on the NHS website could have been written to describe me. Runny nose, blocked nose, watering eyes, facial discomfort, can lead to headaches. Yup, that's about it.
It is not uncommon to develop allergies in middle age, so it is possible that by now I do have hayfever, though if so it's a bit of a bugger because there is no way I am going to remain indoors or avoid picking up leaves. Likewise if I've become allergic to cats that would be just too bad. But I thought it was worth doing something about the dust, since a headache that comes on while I'm asleep could be triggered by something in the bedroom, and the cats don't come in there except for Our Ginger in the mornings, while if pollen were the main culprit I'd expect to feel worse when I went out of doors. So vacuuming the bed slats is on the list of things to do, along with washing my pillows. And a trick recommended on the internet is to rub a slick of vaseline inside your nostrils to trap irritants. It sounds gross, but no worse than going around perpetually clutching a collection of grubby paper hankies. And I will consult our local pharmacist when they reopen, though I already know she doesn't approve of having animals in the house.