Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Martin Amis' Mother and I


I am keenly aware that posterity will judge me on the cleanliness of my floors.  That judgement was destined to be unkind until Móna, enviably closer than I am to the cutting edge of advances in the area of home appliances, recently mentioned the Dyson Slim.  

the dear, dear Dyson Slim


Day and night I have wielded it since it was delivered.  Day and night, until the charge runs out or I have finally vacummed up every grain of invading sand.     

I smiled as I read the sentences in Experience, Martin Amis' memoir, in which he says of his mother, Hilary Bardwell, later Lady Kilmarnock: 

There were many reasons why my mother loved living in Spain, not least of them being that you could, in most pharmacies, buy speed over the counter. After a while the stuff she liked was declared prescription-only; so she had to put on ten layers of clothing and go to the hospital and pretend to be suffering from obesity (a routine business in winter, but not so easy during the African heat of July and August).  She regarded the drug mainly as a labour-saving device. You could always tell when Mum had scored because the house suddenly became the scene of large-scale cleansings and re-orderings. You would see her going from room to room, singing, with a sofa under one arm and a sideboard under the other.   

It is good to know that I am not alone, that Martin Amis' mother also experienced the matchless euphoria of moving a lamp-table from one side of a sofa to another or seeing how the big red jug might look on a lower shelf.   I think of her as I vacuum.

37 comments:

  1. Now a Dyson Slim I could handle, but if it leads to the carting about of sofas and such that might be more tricky ... I just know I'd drop something heavy on my foot.

    Of course if your principle problem is dropped crumbs a small dachshund is most efficient! We have two (as well as the whippets) and are a crumb free zone.

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  2. My mum was prescribed speed to help her get rid of baby weight following my birth. She says it was bloody marvellous.

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  3. And his father was on straight booze, which you could also buy over the counter. My other Dyson cleaner has packed up, so I am toying whether or not (still) to get it serviced, or buy a Slim. I think you have persuaded me.

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    1. I have a traditional Dyson as well, Tom, but the Slim is much more emotionally rewarding. You must get it.

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  4. Goodness, that's the first time anything has endeared me to Martin Amis - he normally brings me out in a rash of irrational loathing - but that's pretty witty. Hell, I might even pop to Amazon and seek out his memoir.... Or should I pop a couple of tabs and do the ironing?

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  5. I remember when my grandpa had to come off amphetamines. He was most disgruntled. He used to say it was maahvellous.

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  6. Oh I see that was what Sue's mum said too!

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  7. Yesterday, I wrote 'Dyson Slim' in my notes on my iPhone ....... after your post, I am buying one. I doubt that it will give me as much pleasure as Martin Amis' mother when she was high but, it might make me a little more enthusiastic about housework and, in the long run, it will be cheaper ! XXXX

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  8. That good? It would be perfect if it came with someone to push it around while I supervised. xx

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  9. I'm suddenly tempted to write a romance novel around the charismatic Mr Dyson Slim. Perhaps he should meet Lady Kilmarnock.

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    1. Only you could do suitable illustrations justice, Shell.

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  10. There must be something really peppy in that baked yogurt.

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  11. Woe is me. I had never even heard of a Dyson slim, nor read the memoirs of Martin Amis. One of those I will rectify by contacting my dear friends at Amazon. Sadly I'm at that time of life when speed of the literal kind has passed me by, a hormonal trough you might say. I had never even considered the other sort of speed UNTIL NOW! Have you got any recipes up your sleeve which might include something to pep me up.

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    1. It's an entertaining and sometimes affecting memoir, Susan. You'll be wanting a glass of wine as you read it. Good thing you bought plenty.

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  12. Yes - there must be something in that yoghurt!
    Our floors could run in competition alongside yours I'm afraid.
    The children are delighted to be off school this week so they can
    take 'extra' turns whizzing up and down the impeccable hallways.
    I am now rushing out to buy Martin Amis' memoir AND a new sofa ( a lighter one).

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  13. Hello Mise

    I could use one of the Dyson slims. Spice Girl sheds a lot. I hate vacuuming, it is too loud for my delicate ears. I delegate the chore to someone else.
    It does look like a cool gadget. I could use some help from the Spanish pharmacy today, I am a tad slow.
    Helen xx

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  14. so glad to be back laughing at your words!!! you make domesticity so cheering--think i'll get out my Hoover Supreme WINDTUNNEL and see how much debris i can pick up with one hand...

    i now have the july issue of ideal home and, indeed, there you are, brid! wonderful therapy in my recovery room...enjoyed the read and the bright-on-whites style you've created.

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    1. Thank you very much, Becky! Praise from yourself on style matters is much valued.

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  15. Thanks to frequent flyer miles I own a Dyson upright and canister–both of them purple. But we have exchanged carpeting for hardwood floors and I am coveting a pink slim. Excessive? Obsessive? Perhaps, but isn't it nobler to be hooked on Dyson rather than speed? After all,as Bacon and Wesley claim, cleanliness is next to godliness.

    I am embarrassed to admit that I have never heard of, let alone read, Martin Amis. The excerpt you shared was delightful and reminded me of your own style of expression. Is there a famous novel written in your future?

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  16. I am in stitches Mise! I needed a good laugh and your post reminded me there is still much to enjoy in life (even if it is via slim line Dyson!)
    God bless,

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  17. I'm like Noelle, in stitches. You're posts are so funny. You may not intend them that way but they are. I wish there was an ap that I could speak into and then have it 'translate' in Mise speak :O)

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  18. You've filled this corner of blogtopia with so many beautiful things: pillows, cakes, and even candy-colored appliances. And here at last, something that will literally take my cares away.

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  19. What about this magic wand is so useful? I am in the dark!

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  20. Your posts always make me smile. Thank you!

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  21. That hoover is quite the dream I think when compared to my very good but heavy Mielle one (: and your blog post is totaly hilarious even more so if you could visualize me sitting down on a couch yesterday, reading this exact replica of Toronto Daily Star from June 20 1953 with the Queens Coronation photos, it is unbelievable the way magazines changed and now blogging is the new print...and the add in the Daily Star for "then" new Fridge was trully hilarious...but as I read your ADD for your new hoover....I just had to connect the 2 ... I am still laughing and feel like I came from the past (yesterday) into the future reading your post...and I am quite happy with my Ipad now, very relieved ((: I am not in 1953! I may need to go to Spain for some "speed" to handle my daily tasks though...or get the same hoover you have now!

    xoxo Z

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  22. That's a great-looking contraption, my dyson is vintage compared to that, on second thoughts not vintage, but enormous!

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  23. I'd like to have met Martin's mum, on a happy score day.

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  24. Are we doing speed again? Am I the only one old enough to have done it? Am I the only person here who weighed under a 100 lbs and had the cleanest bathroom grout in town?

    If so what are you waiting for?

    Martin Amis's mother and I can't be both wrong.

    xo Jane

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  25. I have really wanted one of the fab vacuums, especial with Yes, yet another surgery looming!!

    xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena

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  26. If you have a moment, could you please come and hoover out my car ...... Malcolm has ignored all hints that it is in dire need of a good clean!
    I am now picturing you with a sofa under one arm and the kitchen table under the other!

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  27. Well I'm glad I read to the end of the last paragraph and realised that the thing you had in common with his mother was a love of cleanliness and not coke ha ha :)

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  28. Thank you Mise that really made me laugh, love the look of your new gadget too!!

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  29. both sound great to me. hmm. both even at once.
    x

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  30. I must try the 'sofa under one arm & sideboard under the other' thing...it would make vacuuming under the furnture and rearranging it so much more efficient!

    Happy hoovering and jug placing (it's what we do!!)...
    xo J~

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  31. I cannot express how brilliant you are Mise..and how much I seriously hope you are not taking drugs!

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You're looking particularly well.

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