There's something about cleaning - it's intensely therapeutic


It's half term break, so the family headed south to Athens to the appartment. Part of the ritual of coming down is reclaiming what is yours. First things first - clean the appartment. Hose down the shutters, balconies, windows then move the furniture out then start to work on the inside - cleaning, mopping, scrubbing. There is a rhythm to it and some kind of order that you do things in.

It is a pain to do it everytime before you begin your holiday, yet I feel a huge satisfaction when it's done. I can sit back in the knowledge it's all clean again. My only wish is to come down more often!

Maybe it is nature's way of reclaiming the land : sand, salt, dust blown back on to the balconies, stuck down with intermittent showers of rain. Then more dust, salt, sand blows over, creating another layer of dust... All this has to be hosed down and away, leaving everything shiny, fresh and clean.
I was reflecting whilst cleaning, how therapeutic it is. Swish, swish with the mop, hypnotised by the monotony of the toing-and-froing motion of mopping the tiled floors. Back and forth with the cloth, squirting with the spray, then round and round cleaning the windows, until they are free of smears and glisten in the sun. It is intensely satisfying to sweep away all the dust and grime, with the sun beating down on your back, warming your soul.

Greece is such a dusty place, yet the Greeks have such clean appartments. They wash everything down, and have such a strong sense of pride. Mopping and cleaning are central to life here in Greece. It is a cycle, you have to do it everyday, just to keep on top of it. Otherwise the wind blows the dust back in, the flies and ants move in, and the sea salt eats away, nibbling at the shutters, slowly corroding them away over the years.

It is the one key thing I have learnt living here - possessions last so much longer if you look after them and keep them clean. Maybe an obvious statement, but in the UK there is not this drive /this obsession for cleaning and hosing down the outside space you call part of your home.

I love the tiled floors, the wooden floors, the white washed walls, the candles in the evenings, outdoor life in the barmy evenings. Only then can you truly revel in the clean haven you have created.

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