The end of the world is nigh - just time to Hoover

I have been spring cleaning. Better late than never... as no one ever considered saying to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

And speaking of the end of the world, you may ask why, as the Mayan school of thought has Doomsday pinned as December 21, I am bothering to make the house neat and tidy.

Ah well, what if, on the day of reckoning, your ultimate fate is decided by the state of your kitchen cupboards? We already know there can be nothing worse than being run over whiile wearing a less than pristine pair of knickers. My nanna Jeffries was a stickler when I was a child.

“I hope you’ve got on clean underwear?”


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“In case you get run over.”

If I was wearing what I can only describe as a pair of B knickers... older, slightly more faded, a bit baggier round the top of the leg than an A pair, I would be ultra-careful crossing the road.

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So, as well as saving my best pants for December 21 (For sale: Advent Calendar with three windows unopened) I am doing out the kitchen cabinets.

According to on-line guru Wikipedia: “The 2012 phenomenon comprises a range of eschatological beliefs according to which cataclysmic or transformative events will occur on 21 December 2012. (Hope you’re getting all this) This date is regarded as the end-date of a 5,125-year-long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar. Various astronomical alignments and numerological formulae have been proposed as pertaining to this date, though none have been accepted by mainstream scholarship.”

Which is apt because, at the back of my preserves cupboard I found a jar of what can only be described as a cataclysmic or indeed transformative jar of chutney with an end-date c.2005 in the Meso-eastanglian sell-by calendar.

It wasn’t long before I had gathered together a collection of tins and jars that, had Nostradamus turned out to be right with his ‘end-of-the-world’ prophesy (1999), would have seen me out nicely. If the Mayan extrapolation turns out to be inaccurate then 2020 (courtesy of the late Jeane Dixon, astrologer and psychic) is the next end of the world

I may be exaggerating a little. It wasn’t really Armageddon that was driving me to clean, the fact is, as I mentioned last week, I had no room left in my store cupboards to accommodate the seasonal glut of shortbread. I needed to make space. While many of my cooking ingredients were past their best, I had much better luck in the medicine and specialist cleaning fluids cupboard. If, by some miracle, I should survive the Mayan Misfortune and the world’s climate gets clammy, I shall be fine. In the event of global warming, I will not be bothered by mosquitoes or other disease carrying insects because I have 18 insect repellent roll-ons, two sprays, a box of individual repellent wipes, an anti-Scottish midge aerosol and a number of bite relief creams and lotions.

We would also be well placed to come out of the other end (if that’s the right expression) of a year-long bout of diarrhoea. And nor would we have to suffer constipation or metal tarnish. We have accumulated countless cans of brass and silver polish. It is an amount scarcely justified by the brass surround of the gas fire, two brass candlesticks and my husband’s silver napkin ring (a christening gift).

It occurs to me I may have become an obsessive compulsive two-for-the-price-of-one shopper.

But I was given pause for thought last weekend when I went to a supermarket. At the door, local food bank volunteers were offering shoppers the chance to buy groceries for people who cannot afford them. I took one of the lists and, as I did my own shopping, I picked up some of the goods listed – biscuits, sugar, corned beef, soup, toilet rolls, rice, tinned fruit etc. At the checkout, I paid more than three times as much for my few purchases as I did for the food bank. Makes you think...

In a second supermarket (you visit one and an hour later you need to visit another) As I made for the exit with my tub of Brasso, packet of Imodium and six-pack of Jungle Formula, I noticed the latest edition of a magazine called Nuts. Emblazoned on the cover was the legend: “BIG BOOB ISSUE”. Now, I don’t want to seem like a raving feminist. I do understand that many gentlemen appreciate the glories of the female form. Likewise, many women like to be appreciated in a non-leery, non-lascivious, non-Carry On Gawking way. A “big boob issue”, however, does not meet my criteria for furthering the cause of mutual respect between the sexes.

And no, guys, I’m not telling you which supermarket it was... oh, pur-lease.

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