Turning a house into a home is not a task for the fainthearted, that's for sure! You can put your heart and soul into stitching Victorian lace trim onto all your cushions and making your kitchen smell like fresh-baked gingerbread 24/7, only for the Home-Making Inspectorate to descend unannounced on your domestic idyll, wave their scientific doo-dahs in the air and pronounce it 39% home/61% house (with a 0.4% margin of error) when you jolly well know that it's at least 45%!
To add insult to injury, if you complain or challenge their decision you risk an on the spot fine, a caution by the police or, in extreme cases, a long sentence in the dreaded Home-Maker Internment Camp outside Blackpool, where you will be forced to work on a production line manufacturing hand-carved rolling pins for the lucrative metropolitan baking market.
But don't throw your away your dusters and join the underground resistance movement just yet. At least not until you have tried the advice in these five handy, tips which are sure to put you on the road from house-keeper to home-maker.
Silverfish can be powerful allies
Silverfish are small silver-grey insects that resemble earwigs. The species was invented by William Painter (who also invented the bottle cap) in 1891 as an item of jewellery to be worn on a charm bracelet. In modern times silverfish are rarely made from pure silver. Instead a silver/copper alloy called billon is used.
Silverfish can survive without food for a year, but did you also know that they can also be powerful allies for the home-maker? Their flat bodies are able to fit through tiny cracks making them perfect for a spot of underfloor dusting. They can also be employed to run errands, such as locating the biro cap that you were fiddling with, and subsequently dropped down the side of a cupboard, while you were on the phone with the bank.
What's more, the majority of silverfish are happy to be paid in hair and dead skin cells making them a thrifty option for the home-maker who is counting the pennies. Who would have thought that having dandruff would pay off!
Save your teacups!
When I was young there was a man who rode around our town on a horse and cart, ringing a small hand bell as he bellowed “Brihhouhhyuurcuhs!”
Whenever he appeared on our street my mother would run out with her used teacups which she would exchange with him for dusters. She would also keep a carrot handy for the horse.
The man sold the cups to the local council who broke them up and used them in community mosaics.
The horse and cart may have gone but the man (or possibly his son) still comes around in a pick-up truck. Like my mother before me I still trade my used teacups with him in exchange for dusters. Since the horse is gone he gets the carrot too. The moral of this story: Never throw away used chinaware. Dirty dishes (or in this case cups and saucers) = dusters!
The strange man in your daughter's bedroom is probably Doctor Who
The Doctor is a renegade time lord from the planet Gallifrey. In addition to his criminal activities, to wit – the theft of one time machine / suspected genocide, enacted across time and space, he also displays a complete lack of respect for personal boundaries. He will happily enter private property uninvited and befriend any young girls who happen to live on the premises, often while the supervising adults are either away elsewhere, or have been eaten by space monsters. (Note that in the latter case the Doctor, despite being a time traveller, will delay his entrance until after the space monsters have finished their meal).
A common ploy used by the Doctor (pronounced 'Doc-TOR' by many of his enemies) during his interactions with teenage girls, is to react as if their very existence is an enigma that even a twin-hearted, 900 year old alien intelligence such as himself cannot fathom. The mystery can only be unraveled by the pair spending time together inside his mysterious unlicensed police box, which will de-materialise the moment he closes the door only to reappear somewhere far far away, such as the planet Skaro in the 1920s. On occasion the Doctor may attempt to make the girl feel special or unique by conferring upon her a nickname such as “the girl who cannot be” or “paradox girl.” In this regard he is like one of those creepy secondary school teachers who run off with one of their pupils.
Parents of teenagers who are legitimately concerned that this kind of behaviour borders on grooming can be reassured that the Doctor has no previous history of molesting or intentionally harming any of his 'companions' and is constantly being friend-zoned by them. That said, he is likely to place them in perilous situations and may eventually abandon them in a parallel dimension that resembles Western Super-Mare in January, with former teen popstar Billie Piper.
Fortunately methods now exist to ensure that your daughter will never encounter the Doctor and run the risk of having their life scripted by Mark Gattis.
A life-size cardboard Dalek (available from most comic book stores) can cast a menacing silhouette and act as a suitable night-time deterrent. For those who are unafraid of direct confrontation, a sonic saw, sonic hammer, or sonic 2x4 with sonic nails hammered through one end, will prove more than a match for the Doctor's sonic screwdriver and will soon send him packing.
Celtic fertility gods favour Spiderman wallpaper
For reasons that have been lost in the swirling mists of time, patterned wallpaper depicting Spiderman in various action poses, shooting blasts of sticky web fluid, is a big hit with ancient Celtic fertility gods. These pre-Christian deities will repay you for your act of piety by ensuring that the garden of your home sways with a bountiful crop of wheat and that the boughs of your trees are laden with fruit.
Home owners who decorate with Batman wallpaper can expect their abode to fill with thousands of bats.
Superman wallpaper will cause the interior of a room to drip lukewarm, cream of tomato soup during daylight hours, which can be a lifesaver if you are on a tight budget. When you leave home in the morning simply line the skirting board with paint trays. In the evening, carefully siphon the soup into a saucepan and heat up the contents for a simple, yet delicious meal.
500 people in the UK disappear weekly during games of hide and seek
It's hard to believe but over 500 people in Great Britain go missing weekly during innocent games of hide and seek! That's almost three times as many people who vanish as a result of cabaret magic acts gone wrong.
Admittedly a small proportion (okay 75%) of these missing persons will have been horribly murdered by family members, with the game of hide and seek being invented after the killing as an alibi to throw police off the scent.
Others stumble through portals into alternate dimensions while hiding in wardrobes. This is more common in cheap, poorly-made bedroom furniture, where the back panels have not been properly grounded in one reality.
Some get caught on coat-hangers where they often remain for years. Many who suffer this fate are only discovered after they have been erroneously donated to charity shops.
Some simply begin new lives among the coats and shoes, or in the small space behind the tied-back curtains.