This is from Bea Ballard’s article about her late father called My dad, the perfect mum at Times Online. Their mother died when the children were young and the father raised the children alone.
In this way of living, home is a reflection of a state of mind: cleanliness is next to bourgeois repression. To me it’s far closer to the truth than its cousin which drags God – unwillingly, no doubt – in.
We lived in what we came to think of as a very happy nest – there was a sense of warm chaos that was hugely liberating. He did not care about bourgeois concerns such as keeping the house tidy – as he once said: “You can do all the housework in five minutes if you don’t make a fetish of it.” He later speculated that the compulsive cleaning of a family home “might be an attempt to erase those repressed emotions that threaten to break through into the daylight” and certainly I remember finding the grander homes of some of my school chums eerily silent and stultifying in their neatness compared with our wonderful home, where old plastic flippers discarded from a beach holiday were used as doorstops.
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