The best way to keep the house clean is probably not to live in it at all . . . but this is not practical, nor very funny. So the next best solution is to keep up with the basics of a cleaning routine I am not naturally a tidy person and I have to admit that I struggle on occasion. The home of my chums who are much more disciplined and organised are easier to manage, this I realise. I also know though that those very same folk love coming over to mine and spend hours leafing through the endless supply of magazines and ‘looking at’ books that cover the pouffe and spare chairs. I have now formed the habit of washing down my basin and surrounds in the ensuite and bathroom; I now make myself clear up properly after meals – even putting stuff in the dishwasher promptly and washing down all worktops and the sink before I allow myself the luxury of an evening’s knitting in front of the tv. Keeping the mess from building up is my only hope.