Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is personal view of Spain and Spanish life as seen by a Briton living in a small village in Alicante province.
The other tabs link to similar blogs when I have lived in other places. The TIM magazine is an English language magazine I write articles for.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Practical chemistry

I think it's Le Chatelier's Principle though I hesitate to look it up - what if it isn't? I've been using the same reasoning, remembered from a chemistry class in the mid nineteen sixties, to limit the amount of housework I've done over the last forty years or so.

So far as I remember the ideas is that if you have a system in equilibrium and you do something to upset that equilibrium then the system does its damnedest to re-establish the balance. The implications are clear. Dust the mantelpiece and you are taking on the Universe. Mop and you are fighting the titanic forces of creation. Heaven knows what moves against you when you do a bit of vaccing. Whatever it is, in no time at all, the dust will be back and the floor full of bits.

Anyway. I don't like cleaning. It's work and I'm not keen on work. It's pointless. Clean the car and either it rains or there is a giant dust storm. Hoover and mop the floor and that same rain and dust cloud undo all your work.

There's no denying though, that for the short time it takes nature to marshal her counter attack it's nice to see the bathroom porcelain shine. To be able to see out of the windows. To not crunch as you walk across the kitchen floor.

I don't like cleaning for a another reason. It generates dirt. Normally I just try to scare a room into being clean by shaking a damp cloth at it but even then dirt has a nasty habit of showing itself. You know the sort of thing. As you put on the laundry you notice the washing machine door seal is full of slime from months of detergent sludge. As you search for the bleach under the sink you see the mould growing underneath those never used cleaning products at the back.

Anyway, what has this to do with living in Spain as distinct from cleaning in Chingford? Not much if the truth be told but I have to write something from time to time. It's turned cool here in the last few days. As I changed the bed today I dug the electric blanket out of storage and put it into place. More to the point the leaves that have fallen from the fig and mulberry trees have been dancing around in the shrill autumn breeze. We have banks of the things outside the front door and filling up the interior patio. I pick them up and dump them but there are always more.

So I cleaned surfaces, I dusted, I brought down cobwebs, I polished, I hoovered and I mopped. And then Le Chatelier kicked in and a quick gust of wind distributed mounds of leaf fragments from the front to the back door and a patina of pale yellow dust on all the horizontal surfaces.

Zas is as nothing against the forces of Nature.

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