As I type this blog, I hope the worst is over and things are back on track for Christmas - but my fingers are still crossed! My once soft hands are calloused and dried out by days of washing and scrubbing. I am whacked, but every bit of this house has been scrubbed within an inch of its life.
It all started with the pre Christmas urge some of us have to tidy up (i.e. blitz) the house. Christmas is such an evocative time, and each one brings back the ghosts of Christmas past. The ghost of 'let's stock up the fridge in case it snows'; the ghost of 'who forgot to set the oven timer'. And the ghost that sets you on your knees with everything from the kitchen cupboards on the floor and a j cloth in your hand tidying up for Santa. Yes, my Mum told me that story. I think it's linked to the winter solstice and some cleansing ritual or another.
Anyway, I donned the Marigolds, filled the bucket and started off and the first little treat happened. When I emptied out the porridge and pasta cupboard I found .... mouse poo. Yuk! Not much, and most of the food is in plastic containers, they'd only got at Ali's (unopened) rice crackers and a low fat 'health' bar (the latter probably for bedding!). But even one turd is enough. My first reaction was to have a little chat with the two fur beings that are allegedly cats. How can you have two cats and a mouse move in? Age is no excuse I told them as they lay on their cushions staring at the fire. I was pointedly ignored, they reckon their hunting days are over and I guess they are well over retirement age, even in these hard pressed days.
So out goes every bit of food that a mouse might possibly even have looked at, in came the mouse traps and on went the boiling water and the marigolds. Luckily it was a very limited mouse visitation. I like mice and we live near lots of fields. I can't blame them for wanting to keep warm and get a nibble or two. I just don't want them nibbling our food!
Once the kitchen has been cleaned to within an inch of its life, I begin to relax. It's beginning to feel like Christmas and I start to clean the rest of the house, planning my nice long run. My legs have got really twitchy, but I just couldn't run until I got everything cleaned up. Housework is quite good cross training and great upper body work - isn't it??
Next thing, Mum gets out of hospital, so time to get her ready for Christmas. I pick her up, stock her fridge up and get her settled in. All is looking good and back on track, I begin to eye up my running shoes and think about a route. I bring Mum round for a cuppa and a bit of company - a rare treat for us both. She's happily watching Catherine Cookson when she gets a sore tummy. The wee scone is safely back in the Edington whilst they get her better.
Yesterday morning dawned overcast but I headed off to get a run in before visiting time. I really do have to run when I can and I made the most of it and had a good long one - 14 miles, my longest run yet. The sun came out as I ran towards Tantallon Castle and on to the beach. I only need a tempo and a short run this week to keep on top of things. That feels manageable.
I think we're more or less shopped out now, just pressies to wrap, family to gather and the big day to prepare for.
I hope that wherever you are and whatever you have planned, all goes well for you and your loved ones. If you get a run, savour it and treasure it, as the saying goes, you never know the moment.