Today I got a new thing of wonder - a tablet computer gizmo. It's, frankly, astounding. It plays videos, goes online, connects me with everyone and even turns itself into a book at bedtime. It takes pictures and tells me where I should be and when.
For those of us old enough to remember the first domestic computers - big old things that cost a packet and didn't do half of what this little miracle does - it's even more amazing. When I was at primary school, one child only had parents wealthy enough to buy him a digital watch.
This is the moment when I pause to boggle at the advances and wonders of technology. Where will the next decade take us, I wonder?
OK, stop wondering and boggling. Perhaps more bogglesome and astounding is the fact that housework still needs to be done.
I merely jab my finger at a titchy screen to talk face-to-face with someone in New York for free, yet I still have to bend down to scrape the grunge off the kitchen floor. Digital enchantment performed every day and yet I must use my fingers to remove soggy stuff from the sink. Dust still needs hoovered and wiped, toilets still demand (insistently sometimes) elbow-grease attention and windows besmear themselves.
I hate housework more than I love communications technology. Please can those clever, creative people turn their brilliant minds to solving the housework problem forever.
With apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning, dried on fish mess was my muse this morning.
How do I loathe thee? Let me count the ways.
I hate thee with each sheet and bed and mite
My brush can reach, when hiding out of sight
For the ends of being a cleaner place.
I loathe thee to the limit of every day's
Most horrid mess, by son and husband too.
I loathe thee freely, as there's more to do.
I loathe thee purely, as I'd love to laze,
I loathe thee with passion put to use
With better games I'd really rather play.
I loathe thee with a heat I never lose
With all the dust. I loathe thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears of wasted time; and, if I choose,
I'll pay someone else to do it instead.
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