Well now you think you know a person and then over a weekend of garden DIY it becomes apparent that what you have actually saddled yourself with is not a man who will get on with knocking down walls and painting the house while you get on with looking pretty in a frilly apron the kitchen, but instead a SLAVE DRIVER who fully expects you to be right there labouring alongside him, lugging bricks around, and doing things with mean brick slicing machines while simultaneously keeping him hydrated with blackcurrant juice, force-feeding him ice-cream when his blood sugar dips (and he declares himself about to faint), and making from scratch, soup for a supper fit for the King you both know he is.

And so you do. And you attend DIY store’s twice in a day, and you try not to blush when he inspects soup and wonders out loud why the large lump of bacon boiling in the slow cooker is still wrapped in plastic and you attend rubbish tip in frilly apron and stand holding your nose and chucking bricks two at a time into very large skip and watch as Richard negotiates the acquisition of very cool indeed white leather stool and secretly note that it is no surprise that you love him to bits, being as he is a junk-hunting man after your own heart. And you break a couple of false nails and develop strange brick dust rash over face and get told off for kissing the back of his neck when he is in midst of precarious wall-building and gate hanging, and paint large wall and much of self and generally conduct entire day in a state of some wonder that things that once seemed impossible now occur daily and that a sea of change is washing across your entire life. And your once decimated back-yard.

But hell’s bells manual labour is exhausting. And you don’t tell him that lugging sandstone makes your heart bang in your eyes and things that have never throbbed before throb like they are drumming along with the worst of ACDC. You don’t tell him that you are so grateful it hurts your tummy and instead exchange the kind of outrageous, insulting banter that has come to define your relationship. The same banter that has him reporting your every, plastic wrapped meat style misdeamour to your parents, who have to be summoned every half hour to admire his work and pat his back and congratulate him on putting up with you. You don’t tell him that to you who has never been able to fathom the wonders of building work, that one man can, in the flick of a trowel magic up a wall where there wasn’t one, is nothing short of miraculous, and instead stare at him too much, with all the love and astonishment you might wear around your chops were you to find Robbie Williams sun-bathing in your garden.

And then he is gone, and it is just you, another bowl of soup and Alan Titchmarsh, waxing really rather lyrically about the joys of the British Summer. And if you don’t get your tired old bones in the bath you might have to call for an ambulance so your sprinkle your very own Achy Lady Bath Powder into hot water and climb in with a cold flannel over your eyes, all the better to concentrate on dreaming up all kinds of brick-laying possibilities and beaming gratitude eight miles down the road to where you know Richard will be fast asleep…

Achy Lady Bath Powder.


1 Cup of Sea Salt
1 Cup of Epsom Salts

1 Cup of Baking Soda

3 Drops of Eucalyptus Oil

3 Drops of Peppermint Oil

3 Drops of Rosemary Oil

1 Teaspoon of Olive Oil


Put all ingredients into a blender and blitz until you find yourself with a reasonably fine powder. While you can skip this step, I occasionally find myself sitting in a gritty bath and do believe there is nothing worse!

When you have a fine powder, decant into something pretty, or scoop into a fine denier pull up or knee high and tie a tight knot at the top, chopping off any remaining material. Then you can either scoop the powder straight into the bath or allow the powder to dissolve neatly through the fabric of the pull up…

Follow with a massage with Arnica Cream and there you have it : achy bones no more.

Enjoy Housekeepers!