Hoarding and Compulsive Disorders – OCD


I have recently been watching a programme over here about compulsive cleaners. It has been fascinating. These people may have a disease, although to them they are perfectly normal! They feel the need to compulsively clean their houses, bodies, cars etc. for long periods of the day. Sometimes they don’t get on to anything else before they need to start cleaning again. They are obsessed with keeping everything as clean as it could possibly be and spend a lot of money and time on the products and hours it takes to get to perfection.

The programme makers have coupled these people with their opposite numbers – those people who do no cleaning or very little cleaning or who consider cleaning to be the action of moving something from one place to another. They either cannot be bothered to clean up or they cannot face touching the dirt or they are in total denial of the fact that their houses or bodies are filthy dirty. Mostly, in the programme, it was the houses that were dirty, not the people.

The compulsive cleaners were assigned the task of showing the objectors (those people who object to cleaning their space) how to best clean their houses and also how to de-clutter their space so as to make cleaning easier. In turn, the objectors helped the compulsive cleaners to see that there is a life beyond cleaning and they owe it to themselves and their families to be a little less discriminatory.

Week by week I have watched the programme and marvelled at the outcomes. It really is a revelation. I consider myself to be normal in the respect of cleaning. I like a clean house, but I’m not obsessive about it. Bringing up three sons made sure of that! However I do see in myself a hint of the ‘strict’. I do like to do certain jobs on certain days and if I can’t keep to my routine, I find myself ‘outside of my comfort zone’ and feeling a bit anxious. I like to do my jobs in the mornings and then I can ‘play’ in the afternoons. I feel relaxed about picking up my knitting or sewing or spinning or whatever, once the chores are done, but not before!

Having watched the programme for a few weeks, I began to realise that some of the people on the receiving end of the show really did not know how to clean.  Amazing! I was brought up in the 1950’s when mums mostly stayed at home to take care of the family here in England so I was able to observe at first hand how to keep a house clean, how to do the ironing, cooking etc. My mother was a good role model so I became a clone of her, I suppose. I have very fond memories of growing up with a mum at home all the time and when I had my own family, I wanted to do the same. I managed it although it did take make sacrifices.

You can watch the programme yourself here: although it may not work in America (sorry).

Hoarding clutter and not being able to throw things away is very similar to avoiding cleaning the home, it seems to me. Hoarding possessions seems to be a way of not letting go of the past and I am guilty of that myself, to a certain extent. I’ll go into this in more depth in another post.

Suffice to say that watching these programmes has made me aware of how things can overcome us and eventually leave us needing help, from family or friends or even ‘the compulsive obsessive cleaner round the corner’.

A while ago I included a category on this blog, entitled ‘Daily Chores’. I’m working on this from time to time. I started it when I came to realise that a lot of people just have no idea how to go about keeping their place clean. What it says about me is that I place a lot of importance on these issues. To me, a tidy, clean place gives rise to a tidy, clean mind. Does that sound pompous to you or just common sense. Do you agree or disagree?

Have you seen the programme? or one like it? What impression did it make on you? Are you a compulsive cleaner or a hoarder or maybe you can’t face cleaning your home? Please tell me, I’d love to know.


Baking Day at the Cottage.


Tuesday was baking day at the cottage. I decided to make some bread.


Sadly, it was  the day after Mrs. Margaret Thatcher died. R.I.P Margaret. She was a strong leader, liked by some, hated by others. Me? I liked her very much.  I didn’t agree with everything she said or did but she never faltered. I feel safe with people who make up their minds and stick to it. Thanks to Mrs. Thatcher, my mother was able to buy her own council house (social housing dwelling) after paying rent for forty years. At the grand age of 62 my mother got a mortgage and actually owned her own house! She was so delighted with it and that finally she had something to leave to me (her only daughter) when she died.


Unfortunately, that was not to be because my mother got very sick and had to go into an old folk’s home. They took all her money except for a small amount which was left when she died a year later.


However, owning her own house gave my mother such pleasure and it was all because of Margaret Thatcher.



I cooked the loaf in my gas oven at Gas Mark 7 (very hot) for 30 minutes but the gas must have been high on Tuesday because it caught a little on the top. Next time I’ll move it down a rung.


It didn’t alter the flavour though and we are still enjoying it today (Friday). Almost gone now.


Would you like a slice?


Time for Frogs and Decorating

Frog 35

It will soon be time for frogs.  Can you see the little one in the middle of this picture? He’s just alighting on the lily pad.

It’s also time for Spring cleaning and here in the cottage – decorating. It’s time to do the dining room and give it a little spruce up.  I took the curtains to the dry cleaners today and was horrified to find that I had to pay £22 to have them cleaned and wait ten days as well! Things have changed since my youth! It’s still cheaper than buying new but only just, I feel. They are long curtains, not quite reaching to the floor and a lovely warm shade of red, just right for winter nights. I’m sure they will look a whole lot better when they come back…

So this morning J got up bright and early and started painting the ceiling in the dining room.  It looks a lot brighter already, but with the window open to let out the fumes, it soon got cold so after lunch we disappeared into the back of the cottage and closed the door on the morning room to watch ‘The Lady Vanishes’, a new production, which was quite enjoyable although not as good as the original nor the remake with Elliott Gould.

Unfortunately, once you start decorating, all sorts of other things seem to look wrong. The lampshades need changing, the carpet needs cleaning and we need a new bookcase because my grandson is heavy footed and I’m afraid the one we’ve got may fall on top of him. To prevent that happening for the moment, we’ve put the dining table in front of it, but that is only a temporary measure.

…so we rested this afternoon and much tea was drunk. Tomorrow we start again.

Here’s another frog picture:

Frog 1

Daily Chores – The Washing Up

Most people these days, so it seems, have dishwashers in their houses. Not me. I’ve tried them and they don’t work for me. I prefer to do the washing up myself or even better, with a partner so we can chat over the day’s affairs. It then becomes a social time, a time for fun.

Over the years I’ve tried different ways of getting the job done and this is the way I find the best… always use a clean wash-up sponge every day and wash in hot, soapy water, starting with glasses and glassware. These need to be rinsed.  It is debatable whether or not to rinse everything else.  Personally I think it is a waste of time, except for the glassware, but dh swears by rinsing. Perhaps the soap is different in England.  It certainly seems less sticky to me.  Also, maybe you don’t need to put so much soap in the bowl – that way you don’t need to rinse it off everything all the time.

Once the dishes are washed, they go on the draining board to dry. I like to dry them with a clean tea-towel and I find that the best way is to start with the largest item; dry it, then move on to the next largest and so on down the pile until you get to the knives and forks and spoons.  Somehow the drying up goes much quicker this way. Look at the pictures on here and you’ll see what I mean.

This is my favourite washing up liquid.

Back in 2007, I wrote a ‘Letter from America’ while I was getting used to living there. I repeat it here for those who didn’t read it the first time. I hope it makes you smile!

Letter from America 18

I have never been a fan of dishwashers, other than the human kind!  To me they are a noisy, expensive nuisance, which are difficult to load and unload and, when opened up, they are incredibly good at knocking your shins, which are a tender part of the body.  Since we live in a rented apartment, a dishwasher belongs here.  It comes with the lease.  I wish it didn’t.  I wish it would go away and more cupboard space would replace it.  I wish, I wish, I wish… Sometimes I wish too often and too much, as you will see later…

I managed to get my computer hooked up and working satisfactorily.  It works, so long as every time I reboot it, I first remove the USB connections, all except the mouse.  It doesn’t mind the mouse!  All the others, it spits out with deference and sleeps, refusing to wake!  Next problem I encountered was the anti-virus protection.  I use Norton.  I have an anti-virus Norton programme and a separate programme, dealing with the firewall – also Norton.  Both needed their annual update, which means visiting the Norton website and parting with £28 to get the update.  This I did without too much trouble.  I updated the firewall, but I had second thoughts about the anti-virus software.  Since I last bought some, the programme has become much more complicated.  It was call “Norton Systemworks”, and it took over the whole computer whenever it felt like it and wouldn’t let you have it back until it was good and ready.  I think they must have had a lot of complaints because now we have “Norton 360”, which by rights should be easier on the computer and also on the nerves.  I don’t know what the “360” means.  Perhaps it means “the whole gambit”, or “the whole of your computer and nothing but the whole of your computer!”  Who knows?  Anyway, I didn’t buy either of those.  I just bought the anti-virus part and then spent the whole evening trying to install it…

The computer kept telling me that there was a previous Norton anti-virus programme on there.  Well I knew that, didn’t I?  I put it on there.  Finally, I got it to load and it was working.  So now I am fully covered, in a manner of speaking.

The nasturtiums in the planter pots are getting leafy and I saw some flower buds on them yesterday.  My beans are 4 inches high, but there are no birds nesting in the bird box.  I think they found somewhere better.

So now back to the dishwasher.   When I first got here, I was finding that the utensils I wanted use, were always in the dishwasher, waiting to be washed, and this became a source of annoyance.  We came to an agreement that the dishwasher would be turned on once a day, at bedtime, and that way all my implements would be clean and dry in the morning, just ready for me to use them.  Larry is in charge of it because I don’t want to have anything to do with it!

One night, soon after, I went to bed.  The dishwasher was humming and whirring in the kitchen.  I dropped off to sleep.  Not long after, Larry jumped up.  He could smell burning.

“Must be outside,” I grunted, and turned over. ‘ It turned out to be the label from a jam pot. The label had come off in the dishwasher and then caught fire during the drying process!


This is what happens to silver spoons when they have been through the dishwasher! The spoon in the middle is how it should be.


What do you think?  Are you a convert to dishwashers? or are you a stick-in-the mud like me?

Cleaning the oven

That’s a strange title for a post, you might be thinking, but since it takes up almost 1/3rd of a day, I thought it was worth writing about it.

I cleaned my oven on Tuesday morning. It’s a weekly task! I was brought up in the 1950’s when things were very different, but are they any better now? I doubt it, to be honest. My mum was a stay-at-home mum and naturally I benefited from that.  Now before all you 30 somethings start hollering, I know things are different now, but are they really? I wonder.

If you could, would you stay at home to look after your house and your children? Would you enjoy it or would you be bored?

I brought up my boys in the 1970’s and yes, I stayed at home to do it. I considered it a full-time job. They tell me now that they had a brilliant upbringing and a very happy childhood. I didn’t so perhaps I was making sure that they did. That’s another story.

When the youngest one was five year’s old, I went out to work, part-time. The first thing I bought with my wages was a vacuum cleaner! Are you laughing?

Along with the child rearing, I considered that looking after the house was my responsibility first and foremost. It was up to me to keep it clean and make the meals ready. My husband had different jobs to do. We had one car and it was up to him to take care of that. To this day I have never put petrol in it!

I take a pride in looking after the house and the garden, although I draw the line at grass cutting.

So I clean the oven once a week. That way it stays reasonably clean. I chose a brown oven so it doesn’t show the bits I missed!

On the other hand, it will always be brown, not white. My choice.

It has an eye level grill. I like that for making toast and for keeping the plates warm while I’m cooking. That has to be cleaned too.

I doubt if I’ll even be able to get a cooker with an eye level grill next time I need one!

They are out of fashion nowadays because most people use toasters. I don’t like toasters because they take up too much room on the worktop as I only have a small kitchen.

Cleaning product of choice!

If I could afford it, I would have an expensive Aga and a bigger kitchen to put it in, but I don’t think about that very often.

I like my little old cooker.  I’m used to it and it does what I ask of it.

So how about you? Is this a job you ignore? or one you take pride in?

Daily Chores


I’m quite organised when it comes to housework. Well actually very organised. I suppose that comes of bringing up three sons. More of them another time.  Monday’s job is making my bed.

My knitted blanket is discarded on the floor while I change the sheets.


The duvet cover is easy to remove.


I have a duvet underneath as well as on top.  I love the cover of this one.  I’ve had it forever.


My doll, Emily, sits and waits on the new clean sheet while I put the new cover on. Yes, I like my doll, but she also serves a purpose.  She keeps my cat off my pillow during the daytime!


I love bright colours.  Did you guess?

This week it’s going to be orange and purple (very popular in the seventies).


I keep the blanket on top even in the summer, again for the cat. She loves to snuggle on it and it keeps my feet warm at night.


When reading other people’s Blogs I find so many things of interest. I read arty blogs. I read a few, not many, sporty blogs, writing blogs and crafty blogs. I like blogs which tell of other people’s lives. This is a little bit of my life.

The daily chores form a large part of my life. I like the ordinary mundane things of life, but I also like excitement sometimes.