Spring cleaning season is just around the corner, meaning that houses, flats and bungalows across the country will soon be sparkling anew and have the pleasant smell of pine freshener wafting about them.
If you’re anything like our staff, you’ll be busting out the marigolds, cracking open the windows to let the gentle breeze in and duly scrubbing yourself daft.
But also, if you’re anything like them, you might have encountered a few domestic horrors in your time that are more difficult to expunge from your memory than a red wine spillage on your Axminster.
In my second year at university, I moved into a shared house with three others in Chester.
It’s wasn’t exactly a palace but it was a step up from the cesspools that many of my fellow classmates inhabited.
Everything was hunky-dory but it became apparent rather quickly that one of our housemates was an absolute filth merchant.
Not only did he shave daily and leave his manky beard hair all over the sink and surrounding floor - this included hair getting ingrained in the hand soap and on any toothbrushes that had been left in the near vicinity - but he also used to leave meat defrosting in a pan on the side.
What’s wrong with this you ask? Well, he would leave it out for five or six days until it had turned purple and emitted a pungent funk… and then he would eat it.
Oh, and I once caught him eating gravy and mash off the kitchen floor which was cleaned once a month, so there’s that too.
My friend’s flatmate was training to be an actor at the time and while he was perfectly pleasant face-to-face, his grubby habits made it difficult for my friend to like him.
He was averse to washing up, and when his stuff got dirty he used whatever else was clean in the shared kitchen, including cooking big hunks of meat using his veggie flatmate’s baking trays - yuk!
The guys cleaned up after him for months, but in the final term of uni, they revolted thinking there was little to lose as they were unlikely to stay friends.
They decided to put all his dirty stuff in a big plastic box and push it into his bedroom.
In response, he begged for dinner, lived off takeaways and eventually, went and bought a whole new kitchen set.
The rotting box of utensils stayed in his bedroom.
Mid-term, he moved out to live with his girlfriend and left all his stuff in his room, even clothes.
He didn’t come back to sort it at the end of term, either, so probably lost his deposit - I can only think he must’ve had some money to play with.
When I was in university, we had a cheeseboard next to the sink that nobody used.
Whenever we put dishes on the draining board, the water would sometimes spill out over on to the side where the cheeseboard sat.
Obviously being students, we didn’t clean all that often and when we did, it would only be the things that we could actually see.
One day, my mum came to visit and decided to clean up after us filthy animals. She lifted the cheeseboard to clean underneath and the smell was horrendous.
She didn’t visit again.
This one isn’t my own, but it’s from a close relative.
When at university, he and his housemates thought it might be a lark to buy a whole octopus from Morrisons.
After the initial thrill of purchasing the eight-legged creature from the deep had worn off, they stored it in the freezer and thought nothing of it.
When they all packed up for summer, one of their housemates made the fateful mistake of shutting off all the power in the house at the mains - including the freezer.
On returning to the house with their parents my relative opened the door to be confronted with an unholy smell, one so bad they reckon it actually hurt their eyes.
T-shirts futilely pulled up over their noses, they investigated the house… and were led to the freezer, to the liquid remains of the octopus, which had been sat in a warm, airless house for the best part of a long, balmy summer, slowly decomposing.
After much heroic cleansing - and no little amount of famed anti-odorant, bicarbonate of soda, the octopus’s parting gift was finally mostly eradicated - even though my relative reckons they could never quite get rid of it entirely...