How pleasing to have my inverted snobbery about sterile houses reinforced by yet more news that grime is good for you.
Of course it is. We’ve been told for years that children need exposure to bacteria and bugs in order for their immune systems to develop. But that still hasn’t stopped the national obsession with killing 99 per cent of all known germs, and hyperbolic phrases such as “not just clean, but hygienically clean”.
Me, I’ve always been ahead of the curve when it comes to boosting my family’s antibodies, with liberal amounts of dust and a bohemian (at least that’s how I’m selling it) attitude to hand washing. Before lunch or after a trip to the loo, it’s mandatory, of course – but when it comes to stroking cats or picnicking or playing in the garden, I’m relaxed, with the emphasis on lax.
I think of it as my inner toff: aristos camping in crumbling piles are notoriously unconcerned by dust, cobwebs and black mould round the Regency bathroom fittings. My fussy friends, brandishing wet wipes and antiseptic gel, obviously think I’m a bit disgusting. I obviously think they are a bit bourgeois. You may decide for yourself which is worse.