jeudi 12 février 2009


One thing Diego and I have noticed is that each country has its own cleaning products and those cleaning products are not available in every country. For example, in France, we had a hard time finding Oxyclean, a crucial product when you spill as much red wine as we do. Luckily, Diego’s Mom was able to bring a Costco-sized box of the white powder in her luggage when she came to visit us (and surprisingly she was never questioned about the contents of her luggage when going through the airport). Instead of Oxyclean, red-wine spillers in France have to make do with a transparent liquid called detacheur that sometimes manages to remove the stain and sometimes doesn’t.

Here in the UK, the locals seem quite fond of a cleaning product called Dettol that looks and smells a lot like Pine-Sol.

According to the package, Dettol is an antiseptic disinfectant, again, much like Pine-Sol. What makes Dettol different than Pine-Sol is the variety of uses it has.

Dettol does not just clean floors, bathrooms, and countertops. No, that would be too pedestrian. According to the package label, Dettol can also be used “for personal hygiene” by pouring 1-2 capfuls in the bath. Indeed, according to the March Marie Claire, some women even use it for douching! (though the doctor interviewed did warn that it upsets the healthy balance of bacteria).

Not only can you use this Pine-Sol equivalent to freshen your bath, Dettol also has “medical uses,” including an disinfecting wash on cuts, bites, abrasions, and insect stings.

Even more disconcerting, Dettol can also be used for “midwifery.” Yes, that’s right folks, you can use Pine-Sol when birthin’ babies! The midwifery instructions state to pour “1 capful in 500 ml (approx. 2 cups) of water (1 part in 40) for routine antisepsis.” I’m not sure why one needs a liquid cleaner diluted in water during the birthing process. Is it to clean Mum . . . or baby? Is it to clean the stuff in the birthing room? I have no idea, but frankly, I’m scared that come April, I’m going to be in massive, painful labor, and a midwife will approach me, all smiles, armed a bottle of Dettol instead of an epidural.

lundi 2 février 2009

Snow Day

It's the worst snowfall in 18 years in Southeast England, and it sure makes me glad to be admiring the view from inside.

The view from our living and dining area:

Our street: