The spring equinox has given us a weekend of bright sunlight, as well as the first bloom of buds, which has helped lift the spirits and motivate the mind to get on with many postponed chores...
The Great Spring Clean is now under way at Kemnay House, thanks mainly to our amazing cleaner Beata who has been diligently polishing, hoovering and dusting with enviable amounts of energy. As the public rooms have remained shuttered for almost a year, the task has been gargantuan, which has led to a brief investigation into why we choose this time of year to give our houses a thorough clean:
Up until as late as the middle of last century we, and houses like ours, relied heavily on coal fires and oil lamps for warmth and light. The soot and grime caused by their use would have gathered on furnishings during the darker, colder months of winter, finally coming to light as the shutters fully opened to let in the warmer, brighter rays of spring sun.
With the longer days comes renewed energy to tackle such tasks, as our bodies start to produce less melatonin (the sleepy hormone) that makes us feel rather lethargic during dismal Januaries. This, coupled with long standing social and religious traditions such as giving a house a thorough clean before Lent or during Passover, means humans seem hard wired to get the mop and bucket out in spring.
Luckily technology has helped us move forward from laboriously cleaning paper hangings with crusts of stale loaves (as recommended in The Complete Servant by Samual & Sarah Adams, 1885). However, care and attention need to be given to our antiques so we use soft, natural fibre brushes to clean the more delicate items. Wood is also treated with beeswax polish, restoring a gloss to surfaces without the use of any harmful chemicals.
Hopefully, when we open our doors later this year others will also enjoy the fruits of this spring's labour. But before then, here are a few photos of our endeavours: