The week just gone, the cleaner and the window.

“Let me repeat that. If you have not telephoned the cleaner before I get back then I am not speaking to you. Get it?”

I quailed on the end of the line. If holding the receiver six inches away from your ear wasn’t something that just worked in cartoons then I would have done it.

I pondered the LTLP’s words. There was definitely some ambiguity there. I thought I ought to check with her on her return before telephoning the cleaner.

As I have intimated before, we differ on the precise definition of the phrase ‘a clean house’. But shouldn’t we be celebrating our different points of view? She says ‘tomato’, I say ‘tomayto’. She says ‘potarto’, I say ‘turning green and going manky at the back of the larder… and who’s ever called it a “potarto” anyway?’ She then says ‘stop changing the subject, get a cleaner’, and I have to think through a strategy.

The thing is, I really didn’t want to get a cleaner. Three reasons:

a) I work at home, the cottage is small. I won’t be able to concentrate whilst a cleaner’s pottering around, and I’ll have to make smalltalk and stuff about disinfectant.

b) It’s a small village, and I do not want intimate details about my pants discussed in whispers at the school gates. Or anything else she might hypothetically find in my bedroom.

c) I am very tight. It would seem bad economics to employ a cleaner when for free we could continue with a homely and comforting layer of dust. I would be happy to squirt Toilet Duck once in a while. (Or its supermarket own-brand equivalent, which is much cheaper and probably made by the same people and out of the same breeds of duck).

But were these reasons sufficient to win this particular argument?

I was doubtful. My reasons rarely are.

And it was at this point that I came up with an extremely, almighty, exceedingly, ALARMINGLY cunning plan.

I would tell the LTLP that I had turned over a new leaf, seen the error of my ways etc., and would now make a regular point of cleaning the house myself until it was as spotless as spotless can be.

But I would secretly engage a cleaner forthwith, having junked my objections (see a, b and c above).

There were three really good bits about my EAEA-cunning plan.

i) I wasn’t going to win the argument anyway.

ii) But she would think that I had backed down, and that my objections (see a, b and c above) were silly and frivolous, where as really I would come out on top and the joke would be on her.

iii) She would be really really impressed by my cleaning endeavours and general New Leaf, and I would get lots of shags.

Continued on Monday.