I don’t know why, but I’ve never really considered Easter to be a holiday time like Christmas. Maybe it’s because it always falls on different dates but it is pretty clear that it is considered to be very much like Christmas these days, albeit Christmas’s little brother. Asda and Tesco shut for one day and everyone panics buys like Doomsday’s approaching, for example.
A lot of people go away to take advantage of the extended time off. France and Italy for skiing and Wales to freeze your balls off on a pebbly beach appear to be amongst the more popular destinations these days. Other people stay at home and maybe walk up to Rivington on Good Friday – well, only if you live in the immediate vicinity. I wouldn’t expect non-North Westerners to attempt it.
Me, well I have my own Easter routine, too. There are usually two Wigan Athletic football matches to go to and, I jet-wash the patio. Yep, every year it now seems, I spend at least half a day washing away the shit and debris that has accumulated since last Easter. I have probably done it for the last seven years on the spin now. So, you would think, by now, that I would have the whole thing off pat and that nothing to do with this entire operation would surprise me anymore. Well, you’d be surprised.
- We have metal grills at the base of the house that cover the gully that carries excess rainwater to the drains. Every year I forget how hard is to prise them off with a claw-hammer because I secured them properly at the end of the previous years’ operation. You’ll be pleased to know – or maybe you couldn’t give a shit – that, this time, I just placed them back on top so next year they will just lift off. Yes, seven years it took me to think of that.
- So, there is a routine to this. I do the two paths down the side of the house first before tackling the main patio area. One both sides are done, I transfer the four wheelie bins down the back wall (black and brown). It is usually just as I have put the last one in place that I realise that I have totally blocked in the green one, the only to which I will need access to deposit bits of washed up foliage.
- Obviously it is necessary to remove all items from the patio before commencing operations. One of the bulkiest items to shift is the basketball hoop. It’s one of those with a water-filled base on ropey wheels which needs to dragged, kicking and squeaking, across the patio. I am aware that it need to be tilted to move but I invariably forget to tilt it sufficiently to avoid getting it tangled in the washing line and almost destroying it completely.
- Phase 1 of the main patio cleaning operation involves clearing the gaps between the flags of bits of soil, grass and moss that have taken residence in the previous twelve months. Some of these prove quite stubborn to remove and require a concentrated jet of water to be aimed at them. Eventually they will come loose and small articles will end up in my eye. It would be the easiest thing in the world to simply look away slightly, or wear glasses. Do I? No, of course I don’t.
- As much as I appear to be moaning about it, I quite enjoy doing this chore. It’s therapeutic, I get to stick the iPod on and, best of all, it qualifies for large numbers of brownie points. However, I am never, ever prepared for the sheer length of time it takes to complete. I normally allocate about an hour for the whole thing. It invariably takes nearer four, the last of which is spent wiping down the kitchen window and patio doors which, by the end, look like they’ve been subjected to some kind of dirty protest. Again, you’d think I’d know that was going to happen.
See you in the garden – Griff