Britta's Letters from her life divided between city-life in German's capital Berlin and life in a Bavarian village

Friday, 15 March 2013

Spring clean - but the full monty!

Britta Huegel

In our family we have a special expression for that feeling of being stuck: we call it "to be on a plateau". There are many occassions when one might feel this way: in parenting, in a new city, at your working place... Nothing moves, the air is leaden, something has to change, definitely...

When I feel stuck - and at the moment I do - the first thing I do (after sulking - contemplating to jack it all in - then thinking hard) is: creating order. 
When I am speaking of spring cleaning (the full monty) I am not speaking of household alone. 
As you know I have written a book about That - solely addressing young men, whispering into their ears the secrets of How to Do It). 

No, when I say: the full monty I mean spring-cleaning for home, body, mind and soul. (Not that I do it necessarily in this order). 

Today I stared at the snow on my balcony - ugh! - and howled at the pale sickle moon at night. And then I had enough. 
Enough, Enough, Enough!       Clapboard the third: Action! 

1.) I went to my smashing Turkish hairdresser at the Alexanderplatz (only very young people there, all in black leather, tattoos and interesting haircuts) - and his knowing hands shampooed and massaged and then that wizard took his scissors and performed magic. 
Never change a haircut when angry or sad, said wise Sophia Loren; and I didn't change it utterly (and as all my hairdressers before, especially the maestros, he flatly refused to dye). But I was very content with the result - thank you, Süley!  

2.) I telephoned and now it is official: after the trip to the Chelsea Flower Show I will stay for almost a month in London. I'm looking forward to that (and how I prepare I will tell you soon). 

3) I briefly thought about using house-cleaning method no. 3 from my book - the "Elizabeth-Taylor's-Who-Is-Afraid-of-Virginia-Woolf-emergency-cleaning", but rejected it - no, I wanted real spring cleaning (the rays of the March sun are merciless, on windows and face). 
So I chose method no.5: I pretended to hire myself. (It helps definitely to watch before the DVD with Lucy Eyelesbarrow (Jill Meager), that paragon of household efficiency  in 4.50 from Paddington (with Jane Hickson in Agatha Christie's Miss Marple, of course!)
When I hire myself I work like an employee - I take a timer after binding my pinny (by the way - did you notice how wide awake a lot of men become when you casually mention your interest in aprons? Really interesting subject, it seems. Try it!)  - well, and then I work, with elbow grease- and when the timer says "pling" I stop. Unbind my apron, leave the house and return tomorrow - at the appointed hour. 
See you! 


  1. Britta I'm so jealous of you going to the Chelsea Flower Show! And we need to see photos of the new 'do'! Hope you are feeling a bit brighter xx

  2. Dear Penny,
    I will take a lot of pictures at the end of May! And I am so glad that I can book my flight now, knowing that I got that place in London.

  3. Ooh I am as envious as every other reader will be of your Chelsea Flower Show trip!
    I look forward to treating myself to all your posts I missed over the last month.

  4. Dear Pondside,
    thank you! I know that you had so much (beautiful things) on your plate the last month. And most of us are in a swirl of work do do (I am the best example, moaning about the amount of writing/viewing I have before me :-).

  5. Hi Britta,
    Love the utensil in which you keep your cleaning stuff, although I thought that it would have been Bollinger! ;)
    Hope you enjoy The Chelsea Flower Show, just be aware of how insanely busy it can be!
    Follow me at HEDGELAND TALES

  6. Dear John,
    the eyes of an eagle! If it weren't Lent (I only join in to show husband and son that I can be strong-willed too) I might say: THIS STUFF makes cleaning so much funnier :-)

  7. Hi Brigitta, loved this post. Our poor house is a tip as hubby & I working 7 days a week- I need cleaning inspiration :-) Taking Easter holidays to do big organize & clean! Am also going to London in May, but will miss the Flower Show. I look forward to your photos. Susan

    1. Dear Susan,
      but you instinctively choose the no.1 cleaning-method, always working: invite guests! Suddenly one sees the house with "new eyes", really Zen, and can work quick and efficiently :-) (Though I always act to my motto 'Life is too short to stuff a mushroom' - there are more important things in life than being to fussy about the kitchen floor).

  8. Dear Britta,
    I love the "basket" for your cleaning stuff!!!
    Really original!!!
    I'm sorry I don't know the Chelsea Flower Show but congrats!
    I started to clean the house, today is the first sunny day after 10 or more rainy days! I saw on tv that Germany is "under" snow :(
    Spring will come ... I hope.
    Bisous, Babi

  9. Dear Babi,
    your comment was a ray of sunshine: we are really truly 'snowed under'. Though I sit warm and snuggly at home (Saturday I will fly to Munich - hopefully the sun will be shining there).
    Yes - the "basket" came as an idea when I pondered what to do with it (we have a nice other champagne 'basket').
    Spring will come! Bisous, Britta