Monday, September 03, 2007

MOPPY MATTERS

About once a fortnight the buzzer rings and when I ask who it is, I hear ,"Quello che pulisce la scala, signora" [= "the one who cleans the stairs"]. I recognise his voice now so I buzz him in. What I want to know is how this gentleman, the "Speedy Gonzales of Modican marble" as I call him, does his job so quickly: there are 5 floors in the building, each separated by 2 flights of marble stairs, plus 2 flights of stairs leading down to the garages. He doesn't bring a machine of any sort, for I would hear it and I don't hear any swishing around either. This morning I timed him and after precisely 4 minutes I heard him shut the front door and leave. So what kind of mop has he got? I want one! I must find an excuse to hover on the landing during one of his visits and find out.

In Britain I used to have a "Vax" machine especially for cleaning and drying tiled floors and, although it was good for removing stubborn dirt, it was more trouble than it was worth to set it up for use and "decommission" it when I had finished. I used to have to get the instructions out every time! I soon went back to using an ordinary sponge mop and bucket . Then those "Dettol" mops appeared - the ones where the bottle of Dettol is inside, you can spray some on the floor as you go by pressing a button on the handle and you have absorbent pads which you fit to the bottom of the mop. I loved this contraption, especially for giving part of the floor a quick wipe. I didn't bring it with me as I knew I wouldn't be able to get the pads here. A mop which will also dry would not be necessary here, as even in winter there are days when you can open the shutters and the tiles will dry in minutes.

It's surprising that something like the "Dettol" mop isn't available though, in a country where nearly all the floors are tiled, but I suspect it would be neither wet enough nor thorough enough for the Italian women, who have an unbridled passion for suds and masses of water. You should see our road in the early morning: there is all this water and you would think it had rained, until you notice that it is soapy. It is the water that the ladies have cheerfully chucked out on to the pavement after enthusiastically declaring war on their hallways. I'm afraid I haven't got the dedication of a neighbour in the apartment block opposite: as in this one, there is a man who is paid to come and clean the communal areas, but that is not good enough for her so in between his visits, she can be seen in the mornings, a long apron covering her elegant clothes, happily throwing water from a bucket over every nook and cranny of her condominio's entrance hall. "C'è tanto polvere, signora" [ = "there's so much dust"] she calls to me as Simi and I pass. Simi has learnt to duck as we go by in case the lady chooses that moment to send the contents of her bucket splashing down the street!

I'm more of a "Well, floor, that's all the cleaning you're going to get today and think yourself lucky to have had that" girl, myself.

26 comments:

lady macleod said...

We are always dodging the "water sprinkling" that goes on here. It seems the solution that instead of cleaning, if you wet it down that will be sufficent. Where inside, all the floors have that 'hole' in the back where after having wet down the floors they use a huge squeegy to push the water out. I shake my head, and pay the housekeeper - I'm THAT kind of girl:-)

Sir James Robison said...

That was fascinating and a giggle. My two girls who clean here get round really quickly too and never miss a things. Love the sudsy water over your way.

Age is All in the Mind said...

I think my wife must have Italian blood in that case. She just LOVES suds. Whether it floor cleaning (must be done on the hands and knees of course) or when she washes up (I am only allowed to dry - I don't do it properly), there are suds EVERYWHERE! Fairy Liquid sales will never be the same again if she finds an alternative :-)

By the way there will soon be more blog awards than blog on your site - congratulations

Winchester whisperer said...

Maybe he just sweeps: perhaps he could be sued if somebody slipped down the marble stairs? Speedy sweeper, though. Perhaps he just uses it as an excuse to post a love letter to one of your neighbours?

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Lady M. Fascinating to know about the floors with the "hole" in the back. Hi, James, Glad you enjoyed it. Ciao, Age. It does sound as if your wife has Italian blood!

Stan!! said...

Dettol...now that's something unknown where I am. They've simply never heard of it or indeed any similar brand.
Mrs Stan is not into cleaning. and Nor am I. Thus, servants are an inescapable burden...

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Ps: Age, other then the Blogpower Awards and James's post one, the awards are what James calls "chick " ones because they have been thought up by women bloggers. They are just fun to get and some of them are pretty!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Stan! Can't get Dettol here either but if I could have got the pads I could have filled the bottle with some other cleaning liquid. Can't afford the servants though I have employed a cleaning lady once or twice here. the trouble is I have to clean to make it clean enough to feel I can ask her to come! Hi, WW. No, he doesn't just sweep - I've seen his bucket of water in the lift. Your second suggestion might be the answer!

Shirl said...

We've moved on, WL, in terms of floor cleaning technology! I now use floor wipes, spread over a Vileda flat 'mop' for those in between times. The flat 'mop' gets a thoroughly sudsy cloth on it for the serious floor cleaning. I must be akin to an Italian woma as it's the sudsy clean that convinces me.
The communal hall and stair - three floors - is speedily vaccumed and 'cleaned' once a fortnight here. It always looks awful but I keep my outer doormat straight and wag the hoover - a Miele - around from time to time. We're the only flat on the ground floor but all the feet cross our doorstep!

Crushed by Ingsoc said...

I have responsibility for cleaning the kitchen and bathroom flat.

Oddly, I prefer cleaning the bathroom, I find it quite cathartic.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Shirl. I've got a flat mop but can't get the wet wipes for it! You can get the dry ones here, for the dust they are all obsessed with. Next time I come over I will stock up!

PinkAcorn said...

I believe the Dettol is known in the USA as a Swiffer mop. Sounds the same, pads and sprayer. I recently bought one after being in denial over the fact that nothing could do a better job than my PVA mop which is some type of heavy duty foam that sweeps as it mops....the jury is still out.

Liz said...

Four minutes? And is it clean? Speed-cleaning indeed. My window-cleaner used to be pretty nifty but he didn't do a very good job!

I probably buy a new mop about once a year (or two) and that's always because replacement mop heads are no longer available for my 'old' mop. It's been superceded by the latest model - which proves to be no better.

Lee said...

You've just reminded me...I've got to wash my floors today! Rain is on its way, apparently, so I'd better do them this morning otherwise I won't be able to do them until the rain (if the forecast proves to be correct) goes.

Sorry I've been absent, Welsh. I've just been so short on time the past few days and have been very remiss in catching up with all blogs.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Pink, I think you are right because the first time I saw the equivalent of what I call a "Dettol" mop was in the US. I'll be interested to read your verdict! Crushed, we could swap because I quite like cleaning the kitchen - once I get round to it! Liz, I've always had exatly the same problem! Lee, as long as you're all right ... Hope you get your much needed rain. auguri a tutti

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Liz I forgot to say, yes, it is clean and you can smell a very pleasant scent of floor cleaner after he leaves.

Chris said...

Vax - I used to have one of those - I'd forgotten all about it. I decided in the end that it was a lot quicker to get onto my hands and knees to clean the floor rather than faff about mantling and dismantling!

Trouble is these machines seem to have a strange allure. At present I have a steaming machine sitting in the utility room, used once and once only for exactly the same reason I got rid of the Vax! Add to that the fact that I've never been too keen on cleaning and after 40++++ years of marriage I've decided not to waste my time worrying about it.

mutleythedog said...

Are you all really discussing mopping? And people say I am peculiar.

Could we have some posts about food instead? Sorry I have not been by for a while I have been isolated from the world...

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Chris. I had one of those steamers as well but I was scared of it. Mutley, we are and I can't quite believe it myself!!

jmb said...

My goodness, this looks like a discussion from TV in the fifties! But there are even guys here in on this one so it definitely isn't the fifties.
No cleaner I'm afraid, I have to do it myself when I can't stand it any more. It's not really that bad but there are so many more interesting things to do than clean, don't you think? Like read a good book. Or.....
regards
jmb

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Totally agree, jmb: I clean when things get on my nerves enough!

Girl on the Run... said...

Being one of those women who takes no solace in moping the floors I have to say I love our swifter. Your version of a Dettol I am sure. Which I bet you can buy on Amazon or directly from there website. Anything that makes the cleaning process faster I am all for except the vacuuming... I love to vacuum! M

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Thanks, M. I never thought of looking on the net!

Shirl said...

Sainsburys! They are excellent but very good at showing you how dirty your floor was - white becomes black.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I Sainsbury's cookery magazine, Shirl.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I meant "I MISS Sainsbury's cookery magazine"!

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