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Where there's muck ... Moving to PORTUGAL Ex-pat GRAHAM DENBY continues his series on creating a new life in sunny Portugal. Today: the importance of cleanliness.

Byline: GRAHAM DENBY

CAN I ask a question...do men see muck?

No, I don't mean the stuff on the 900 channels when you're flitting through Sky of a night when your lass has gone to bed (can't they just sneak back downstairs quietly, though!) I mean muck in the house. I have to ask because I'm constantly getting pulled up about it.

To state my case here, I am the house/horse/odd job husband. Our lass goes off to her job, sorry, career, at the International Skoole (you'd think they could spell proper when they pay fees, wouldn't you?) and I stay here and do the rest.

Heroic you might say, yes, and you'd be right. I'm not going to go on about my animal husbandry (sheep excluded!) or my culinary skills, well not yet anyway, but I'll return to my original question.

Can we not see muck ... or to be more precise, can we not see what women obviously do, see what I mean?

This being Thursday, I'd dug four holes for new shrubs, painted a saddle rack prior to hanging (it, not me), cleaned the stove (fire) and lumbered around, you know, chopping wood.

Then I prepared to cook the tea. Our lass in this time had helped with the holes, well, I'd have picked the wrong spots, obviously, then she'd ridden, er, exercised two horses, brave girl huh!

So, I'm cooking tea, pork chops, pasta with onion, carrots & tomato sauce...and not out of a Heinz bottle.

Well, when I'd done and we'd eaten to be fair our lass volunteered for the washing up, only to be stopped in her tracks by 'the filthy state of the kitchen!' I was summoned forth (but came fifth, ho-ho) only to struggle to see anything that bad. It turned out the culprit was a few flakes from the onion I had peeled.

Now onion skins are a type of plant dandruff aren't they? Chop-chop, slice-slice, dice-dice, confetti-confetti - yes! Filthy, no.

See, they're never happy. Being a hot place we do get flies and, although I've made and fitted nets at the windows, some Houdini-types do get through. You've got to use the door sometime, right? There are never a lot of flies and mozzies, but even one annoys.

OK, so I'm armed with my stealth-swotter a vicious looking black handled, red meshed killing machine. What do I get?

"Don't squash that thing on the walls, windows or furniture, you!"

So, I'm stuck, waiting for it to settle on maybe....where? The floor, nah never, the dog, no-no, more than my life's worth then...perfect, it lands silently on our lass's upper arm.

Ssswish-swottt, it's flat dead, gone, another notch on the stealth swotter, also all conditions satisfied, but is is our lass, heck no!

The way she yelled, shameful I told her, a quick swill under the tap and the mark would be gone next morning, no gratitude some folk!

LOVING THE AREA: John Birkett pictured at Eyemouth, Scotland, where he moved to with wife Elaine and Ben the dog. Contact us: Alcaria.alta@gmail.com
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Feb 25, 2009
Words:518
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