Traverse City Record-Eagle

Feature Columnists

May 9, 2009

The View from Sunnybank: Resurrection

Yesterday I woke up lower than a snake's bottom. Sometimes this depressing environment (unfinished rooms cluttered with wires, pipes, paint cans, tarpaulins, scaffolding -- not to mention my own inglorious "Pigpen" appearance) and the sheer scale of the mess I've been trying to fix nearly undoes me.

Rising was really difficult. Nothing helped. Not coffee, not lovely music from the painter's spattered CD player -- not even my plane ticket hanging prominently on the kitchen wall, sporting a dumb silver bow.

I hate it when I find myself in the Pit of Despair.

Leaving the three cleaners to tackle the wretched sunroom, I motored bleakly to Ross-on-Wye to shop for essentials, yet again. The sky looked threatening, the car demanded petrol, and my backpack chafed my shoulders. A black cloud hung over me as I walked Ross' very steep High Street (every British town's main street). For tuppence I would have gone home to Joe. Right then.

Muttering about depressed old ladies muttering, I bought my 10,000th cooked chicken, some sugar snap peas to munch and, wincing, a liquid cleaner, "Mr. Muscle."

In America I won't eat anything -- or use anything -- that introduces itself as "Mr." (Mr. Hot Dog always got my goat.) But now, I have no choice. The British stopped offering scouring powders, like Comet, years ago. Now there are only these inadequate spray cleaners.

They don't have Kraft salad dressing either. I long for a sandwich smarmed with that stuff ... moan ...

The British don't do sturdy wooden-handled straw brooms, either. Ever. Just darling, delicate little nylon push brooms in pretty colors that don't sweep and haven't a clue about cracks. No generously sized metal dustpans, either -- just teeny plastic ones in pastel colors, that break. Their working life in my cottage lasts about one day. This dear little blue pan (No. 8 and counting) was tossed wearily into my basket. Poor thing. Its life was now measured in hours.

Text Only