A friend of mine just commented on Facebook that changing wet beds at 3am was no fun. Presumably this was a grumble about her small child's nocturnal habits, this being the least unpleasant assumption. It struck me that most of the stuff I do every day does not come under the category of 'fun'; certainly the balance is in favour of tedium, with washing, ironing, shopping, hoovering etc on one side of the balance and..er... well, actually there isn't much every day stuff on the other side. I mean, I spend some time relaxing - reading, listening to music, writing, watching TV. But I'm not sure that counts as fun. For most of us fun is the more occasional treat, once you're out of your teens or twenties. If you're lucky it comes round every weekend, when you have the opportunity to go out, meet friends, laugh at nonsense.
SO, in an effort to redress the balance - and given that the dull stuff still needs to be done, and there aren't any more hours in the day - the only way to redress the balance is to recategorise what is fun. In the spirit of Mary Poppins and her spoonful of sugar, and in this Olympic year I present to you...the Household Olympics. Yes, I know that top athletes go through all sorts of blood sweat and tears that are definitely NOT fun, in order to get to the Olympics. But once there - it does look kinda fun, doesn't it? So arm yourself with a stopwatch and your courage. Wear those skimpy track shorts with pride. Don't forget to warm up. And begin...
Event 1: Diving
Stand, teetering on the brink for several tension-building seconds. Then, grasping 2 corners of the duvet, execute a perfect 2 1/2 somersaults in the pike position, into the far end of the duvet cover. 8.5!
Team up with a friend to mop the kitchen floor. Push something heavy - a bag of potatoes, say, or a well-fed cat - across the greasy floor, then mop furiously around it in order to coax it towards the cat flap (note: if using potatoes, they usually need help using the cat flap as an exit strategy).
Event 3: Table Tennis
'Hello, is that Mr / Mrs____? I want to speak to the person responsible for the gas / electricity/ telephone bill.' 'That would be _______. They're out.' 'Well, may I speak with you anyway? We have an offer that I am sure you will be interested...' Click. Brrr. Points please. The only way to deal with cold callers - bat those calls away.
Time to don your leotard. Perform a three-minute routine to music of your choice, holding a feather duster.
Event 5: Archery
Arm yourself with a quiverfull of dry cat food pellets, take aim, and fill the cat's bowl pellet by pellet. Points deducted for hitting the cat, even if he is eating the 'arrows'.
Event 6: Cycling
Get on your bike (remember to fit panniers), start the clock and...go! How fast can you be back home with a full complement of shopping?
Event 7: Dressage
Steer your hoover carefuly around various obstacles. Canter down the main carpet. Painstakingly manouvre around children's artwork. Leap nimbly up the stairs. Use all attachments, however finickerty, to impress the judges.
Event 8: Judo
Wearing a dressing gown, wrestle those shirts and trousers into submission using only your wits and strength. Oh, and an iron.
Pick up object. Test it in your hand: is it heavy? Is it useful? Is it yours? Is it IN THE WRONG PLACE??? If the answers to these questions are 'only a little bit; no; no; yes!!!', then cheerfully FLING that object away. Best to do that twirly thing on the spot first, to build the momentum and the required amount of fling.
Event 10: Hurdles
As the day draws to a close and you realise that there is still a long list of jobs to do, set that clock again, speed up, and joyfully LEAP over anything and anyone that gets in your way. The finishing tape is the sofa, where a champion's glass of wine awaits you. Wrap yourself in your national flag, if it helps, and bask in your wonderfulness. Job well done.