Household Tips #1

What to do when you have a tube of lipstick stuck in your hoover.

Right inside it. Inside the bit you can’t get at even when you remove the hose.

The bit where all the crap gets vacuumed up making its way to the collection point. But not the hose itself.

Hose itself is easy. Drop something heavyish into the hose and give it a good shake. Or stuff a wire curtain holder down its length. Always keep one handy, me.

But not the hose. The other bit leading from where the hose joins the body into all the invisble bits where the fairy dust suckers live. The bit with nine million screws holding it together. Know that bit?

The bit where your thirteen year old daughter in her laziness  wisdom decided to just go for it and sucked everything up. Keep the auld dear happy.


After figuring something wasn’t working, when I would have been better on my hands and knees with a straw between my teeth, I investigated and saw the culprit. Lovely shade of pale pink lippy. Could see the end label but couldn’t catch the bugger.

Caught my daughter though. She wasn’t much help. Except to bring me all sorts of bits and pieces from around the house to attempt its extraction.

Pliers – grip kept slipping. Toffee hammer – don’t ask. Plastic ladle – it has a long handle. It was a long shot. But it didn’t work.

Guess what did? A paper scraper. I think that’s what it’s known as in the trade. Mibbe not. Looks a bit like a palette knife. I’ve been known to use one to scrape wall paper and plaster small holes. Not brilliantly, I have to admit. But sometimes when you’re waiting for a man to get round to that wee five minute job you’re better making an arse of it first so he can show you how it should be done.

Not that I deliberately make an arse of things. Just turns out that way sometimes. I know my limitations but it doesn’t stop me having a go. Once built a set of wardrobes from scratch as a twenty-something. Apparently six-inch nails into plaster isn’t a great idea. I hadn’t heard of rawl plugs and drills at that point. Nor spirit levels. But the design of the wardrobes was fab. They stood for years. I never did get round to putting doors on them. Which was actually quite handy. I could choose my outfit for the day while lying in bed. So could my sister. Lay there across the room from each other discussing whose clothes we’d wear that day. Saves loads of time.

Anyway, about that lipstick. Fingers into orifice. Hoover’s. Not daughter’s. Grab with fingers of one hand wedged in the opening (this is beginning to sound obscene), edge the paper scraper in. Lever. Voila!

No one gets near my hoover again.

Wait a minute, I might have been had here.


The Voice

There’s a voice that calls from way beyond the skyline,

I hear it sometimes in my sleep, my dreams,

It urges me to be the best I can be,

I fail a lot, I feel, or so it seems.

The voice believes in me and I don’t know why,

I believe in it because I hear,

Its repetition, loving me through silence,

Belies the notion I’m alone, it’s near.

It touches me with warmth and understanding,

It rescues me from doubts I hold inside,

The voice is reassuring and I welcome

Its confidence in me, celestial pride.

I scarcely recognise its tone, its tenor, 

It’s gentle, strokes my brow when I am weak,

It smiles sometimes, I hear that, I’m encouraged,

It nudges me to keep on, always still to seek.

I love this voice, it comforts me in waking,

In darkness and in dark nights of the soul,

I suspect it may be god or maybe just me

Loving self when temptation is to scold.

I hear it now, it’s smiling as I write this,

It’s nudging once again to just get on,

Do the best I can and pat my shoulder,

The voice of life and love that keeps me going.

Do you hear it, that still voice inside you,

Deeper down than anyone can reach,

Knowing you and knowing me, our voices,

The omnipresent ones that seek to teach.