Quarry Tiles Do Not Like Milk

The day started well, that relaxed smile emerging at a job well done, allegedly. The ‘milk’ treatment to the dinning room stone flagstone was brilliant, the same treatment to the kitchen quarry tiles had the jury out for a while, but uncompromisingly returned an unanimous verdict. The kitchen floor treatment was a total cock up.

The harsh reality that after a painstaking cleaning procedure and liberal application of skimmed milk the desired sheen duly appeared and spirits rose. But when the OK to walk on it was declared the milk metamorphosed into a chemical magnet. The soles of shoes, not in the house- can you never remember, slippers and indeed soles of bare feet were mysteriously removed of all detritus leaving dust footprints everywhere.

Conventional cleaning failed despite liberal applications of potions. There was a growing reality. The floor needed stripping back to the bone. 

Fortuitously the dimming memory cast back some 25 years and struck gold. A lucid moment! Buried deep in the vast collection of useless tools and equipment purchased on a whim, I invested in a second hand industrial floor cleaner. Now was to be its moment of glory. Basking in a moment of magnificent foresight the solution to the floor issue was emerging in the shape of things mechanical. Things electrically powered.

Luckily I had avoided some lightweight domestic polishing version and gone the full monty. It was fit for purpose, it weighed 30 kgs, it was one of those spinning machine skilled cleaners used to clean and polish floors the size of football fields. This was the beast I finally unearthed in the never to be thrown out pile, buried deep.  

It was a struggle to lift the thing but then realised it was equipped with rear wheels for manoeuvring. The floor was duly soaked with water and cleaning fluid, maybe a tad too liberally but there was a challenge ahead! And after fitting scouring pad battle commenced.

Now, driving one of these machines looks so easy when you watch a cleaner at work. The reality a little different. Essentially the cleaning pads revolve and to steer the thing you twist the handle left or right, surely. BUT no! To steer left you lift the handle very slightly, to go right you depress the handle. This is anti intuitive and must be a learnt response. Twisting the handle is both difficult and the results alarming. The damn thing moved abruptly and at some pace left or right. I was spinning around like a whirling dervish, the polisher crashing into the wall at one extremity then ripping in the opposite to smash into cabinet doors. It was becoming a disaster zone class one. Before you ask yes if you release the power handle the polished stops instantly. But like Gerard Hoffnung monologue on the bucket bricks, I seemed to have lost my presence off mind.

The better news after a few minutes of manic manoeuvres the skill returned. The floor was scrubbed clean leaving a flood of extraordinary dirty water the results of 25 years. Eight cycles of mopping the goo up with a mop and the jobs was done, which is where I thought I was after the milk.

Alistair Owens

The meandering thoughts of someone with too much time on his hands. Tending to see the obscure and irrelevant in most events I have been forced to record this by family members as a means of diverting attention away from them. But I see their plan.

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