Wednesday, 2 July 2008
I have done quite a lot of cleaning jobs (and don't really worry about it, and anyway quite interesting as I could possibly be one of the most highly qualified cleaners in Hull. A claim to fame LOL) because they have short hours and are reflexible and to be honest I am not up to an executive position. They are also quite easy to get and I got this through someone at my kid's school. I will put on the names for one day but then take it off because it is not fair invading people's privacy. (just putting it on for proof, as it were, in case anyone thinks this is all a figment of my fantastical imagination).
I worked for a year for a lady who ran clubs for the mentally handicapped in Hull. I also have the greatest respect for Lily, and to be honest, did not do a lot of cleaning (the house was always spotless anyway when I got there) but spent about an hour of the allotted three talking to her.
Her daughter Diane was 40 and had Downs syndrome, which Lily turned to the good by starting up and running social clubs for the mentally handicapped and educating herself to being a spokeswoman and expert on the subject, chairing local meetings and campaigning.
She spoke of the fact that at birth she had the chance to give up Diane for adoption as apparently was quite the done thing in those days, but how she hadn't, which had obviously not made for an easy life for her. She said she was a beautiful baby anyway and up until a certain age she played quite happily with her brother and had a normal childhood until he reached a certain age when he started to leave her behind.
Diane had a busy life attending a special school and had had a platonic boyfriend. She had a special chair to sit in where she knitted and did artwork which was quite elaborate and which she spent a long time doing because she was very patient. She also was a Hull City Supporter (so she'll be pleased about their recent promotion) and used to listen to matches on the radio and had a huge collection of programmes and memorabilia and was quite a fixture at the matches where she had a special seat. She certainly knew how to speak her mind and told it how it was usually. She had an expensively decorated bedroom, wore lovely clothes and once I was dispatched to buy an Easter bonnet for her for an Easter parade.
I liked the house which was full of ornaments, brasses, plates with all the holidays they had been on lining the shelves. Also lots of photos to clean which I don't mind doing as they are interesting. I used to polish the brasses, another satisfying job getting the sparkle. Pride of place was a tapestry of a Unicorn with gold beads incorporated in it done by a lady to while away the hours while she was looking after her very handicapped son. Lily also a window full of crystals catching the light hanging on kitchen window which made for a nice atmosphere in the kitchen, which actually where everyone spent their time round a big table and had kitchen units in polished mahogany like living room furniture.
I had to clean and polish properly, using vinegar and newspaper for the windows, as Lily had very standards and I had to fold the clothes properly as she had worked in a laundry. She used to sometimes make me dinner and was an excellent cook and I once remember her making a bowl full of salad with grapes in. At Christmas she bought everyone in my family a present and some crystal decorations for our tree, and took Eleanor round all her talking and moving Christmas decorations.
She had a huge back garden, as she had a corner house, which I can only describe as 'like a bl**dy park' (which in fact I did) with huge trees at the bottom of it and we used to talk about the different flowers and bushes in it and watch a squirrel which used to come and hang upside down to eat the nuts on her birdtable. She liked talking about her life and the dogs she had had, like the labrador who used to follow her about and liked strawberries from the garden.
I really liked Lily and I think she liked me because she was always sitting waiting with a coffee when I came and enjoyed this job but stopped it because my kids were coming up to the age when they were going to the same school as her grandchildren and I didn't want them to be known as 'the cleaner's kids' in the playground which would be somewhat embarrassing for them (even though Lily herself used to refer to me as her 'Personal Assistant' , which sounds a bit better). Like my husband once had a job as a fitter but it was officially called 'Maintenance Technician' LOL