Doing the Dishes

15 Apr 2008

Water Pump with Dishes by Miguel Valle

"The window with its background of shutter reflected the whole room, and the two candles, reflection and reality, sent gleams of light upon the lead sill and the china dishes and cups, so that the pots smiled and nodded through the enticing wreaths of steam.

Virginia washed each cup carefully, and each thing spoke to her in its own fascinating manner. The brown-bellied teapot was a fat old woman, an ancient woman, almost it might have been a great-grandmother of a gipsy; the cups were charming young ladies going to church to be baptised under the rainwater tap; the saucers were young men engaged to the aforesaid young ladies, and the spoons, ah, they were lots of children chattering and tinkling and wagging their little silver tongues. Plates were middle-aged folk, in different clothes, for the plates were odd, some painted with flowers, some with gold edged, some with lustre leaves on their petticoats, and they were talking of domestic troubles and pains and aches in their bodies. Pains, yes, every crack was a hurtful pain, and every chip was a small wound. Virginia washed up very slowly lest she should hurt any of the small, lively, helpless, dependable family of pots and pans and dishes. She whispered below her breath to them, she wiped them lovingly, and admired their gold bands and blue flowers and ships and clouds and all the ornamentation that found itself on one and another."

taken from "When All Is Done" by Alison Uttley, 1945

Can you ever look at washing up in the same way again after reading that?

6 Responses to “Doing the Dishes”

  1. Oh my Jen, what a lovely post. No, I don't think I will ever feel the same when washing my faithful friends. I must read that book!

    I have pass you an award...stop by my blog and pick it up ,if you like...thanks for your wonderful blog...


  2. What a wonderful post, and it does make washing up a more meaningful and gentle experience. I love to drop by and see what food for thought is offered. Thanks for introuducing me to so many wonderful books.

  3. Hi Jenny :) That is such a sweet encouragement! Love, Q

  4. Alison Uttley is a wonderful writer,I have all her books,they live in a bookcase next to my computer.I was able,after reading your lovely post to dip into this book and read a few more pages.I read this book last several years ago,and must now find time to re-read it.I love your music too !!

  5. What clever writing! It just goes to show that even the most mundane tasks can become lovely with a little imagination!

    Love, Tina :)

  6. Good evening Jenny,
    Well I have heard of talking to trees (and I have been known to whisper to a few), but I have never heard of talking to ones dishes! I love the description of the brown-bellied teapot.


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