Intimate Moments With a Dust Bag

paints in round pots with brush

I yearn for a simple life yet am sucked into multitasking

It must take me 10 minutes to empty Henry the Hoover’s bag into the dustbin outside the house. I’m armed with a paintbrush to help unstuff the over-filled sack, but it proves a pretty crap tool.

However, pulling delicate fronds of household dust out with my fingers feels strangely cathartic.

The kids were just using the aforementioned paintbrush to decorate paper masks, the grown-ups, delicately painting the old rickerty garden table. It felt kind of rebellious to be ‘allowed’ to draw on the furniture.


While one adult was relishing this newfound sense of abandon, and the other was making toasted sandwiches, the kids noticed their advantage and used the paintbrush for a full bodypaint.

As I inspect the fluff, string and sparkley strands I pull from the hoover, and watch them tumble and float into the wheeley bin, I contemplate reaching into the bin to rescue the inadvertently sucked up ten pound note.

Not really. There wouldn’t have been a moment’s hesitation.

No. Rather, I ponder how we were discussing our enjoyment of ‘the simple pleasures’, just this morning. Yet I’m usually multitasking.

For example, in the five minutes before this little job, I was attempting to do all of the following:

  • hand out toasted sandwiches to hungry children
  • eat my own toasted sandwich
  • complete an Amazon order in a desperate attempt to buy ridiculously overpriced but very-much-needed-for-baking-with-kids-activities flour
  • work out why I’ve been locked out of my Amazon account
  • frantically check my phone for the promised OTP to access my account
  • contact the owner of ‘phone No 2’ to see whether the OTP has been sent to his phone
  • locate the smoke alarm set off by burnt toasted sandwich and turn it off
  • explain to one child frightened by high-pitched smoke alarm that it doesn’t signify the end of the world
  • direct one child’s water gun towards only the feet of another fully-body-painted child
  • rush fully-body-painted child upstairs as the paint has begun to sting his skin
  • clean up paint dabs on beige carpet
  • guide (which becomes instruct, step by step) any spare children to clean paintbrushes and put lids back on paint pots
  • encourage one child to help with the vacuuming
  • realise their attempts are frustrating as the Hoover bag is full
  • empty the Hoover bag
  • decide whether to rescue a 10-pound-note (or did I?)
  • lots of other things, but I can’t remember now because…

…it’s a frenzy! No wonder I’m feeling frazzled.

I shake the final clouds of grey from the insides of the bag, return to the house – where it’s suddenly ominously quiet – it’s the five o’clock screen hour, and console myself with a cold toasted sandwich.

At least Henry the Hoover has room to suck up the crumbs.

This post is adapted from an article in Home Sweet Home on Medium.

🥰 Thank you for reading, thank you for sharing. If you subscribe to my email list, you’ll receive a notifcation when I publish a new article 🥰
Stay safe and well. xxx

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  1. That’s so cute that you named your vacuum cleaner!! Love it!! I once had a bike named Bikelyn. Oh, she was a great bike!

    1. Believe it or not, Henry the Hoover is a brandname 😂 They’re great vacuum cleaners with a face on them. I had thought they were known throughout the world but now I guess not 🥰 Love that you gave your bike a name 😍

  2. BRAVO. Applause! Applause! and you even had time to write about it. Don’t worry I won’t ask for a repeat performance. LOL! Believe it or not there will come a day, when the kids are grown and off on their own, that you will miss these times. I know I do.

    1. Aw… Thank you Ruth! I do feel very very lucky to have these times. As long as I get enough sleep, and a few minutes to myself in the morning, then all is well 🙏 But my goodness, they really do grow so fast and I feel soooooooo grateful to have my kids with me 💖

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