The Mole had been working very hard all the morning, spring- cleaning his little home. First with brooms, then with dusters; then on ladders and steps and chairs, with a brush and a pail of whitewash; till he had dust in his throat and eyes, and splashes of whitewash all over his black fur, and an aching back and weary arms.
(Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows)
It may not be spring in the southern hemisphere, but the start of the academic year brings a spring-like feeling of new things, and with it, yes, lots of cleaning. We have been cleaning, tidying, sorting, throwing rubbish, grass cutting and painting the Scout headquarters (aka railway shed) for the last couple of weeks, prior to starting activities in earnest with the kids this coming Saturday. Our Christian-bookshop-owning, church-planting friends have also taken a big step and rented a building, so there too we have been cleaning, tidying, sorting, throwing rubbish, there’s no grass so we were at least let off that bit, but there was plenty of furniture moving instead. We had the first church meeting there last Sunday, and they are aiming to move the bookshop across this weekend. There are also plans to open a cafe, run a kids’ club, use the offices upstairs for professionals to donate their time, and to host community events in the hall at the back. We like these guys; they have vision, which isn’t unusual in Argentina, but they also have the tenacity to see the vision through to concrete (breeze block, wood and sawdust) reality, which in our experience here is almost unique. So it has been sleeves rolled up, all hands to the deck, and lots of other mixed metaphors, in order to turn an abandoned factory into the blank canvass upon which to bring life to a dream.
It was small wonder, then, that he suddenly flung down his brush on the floor, said ‘Bother!’ and ‘O blow!’ and also ‘Hang spring-cleaning!’ and bolted out of the house without even waiting to put on his coat…