Where does all this dust come from?


Me after the war in Belgium for fattening-up.


‘We don’t know where Gerard comes from?

This was a rather alarming statement for a nine year old to comprehend. My assumed parents used to utter these insidious words in total despair. Once again I had come home with clear evidence that I had been playing in the sea. A white ring of salt water clearly visible around the top of my leather shoes. ‘It is ruining your shoes and your father worked so hard to pay for them’, my mother added. I never told them that I fostered the hope that one day my real parents would turn up on sea’s horizon on a large and luxurious boat. It never happened. Years later we did go on a large and luxurious boat. We were all on-board migrating to Australia. A  decision still open for debate today.

It wasn’t all that long when friends confessed having heard similar foolish utterings from their parents. With another three brothers getting born after me and a sister, they too received similar statements apparently in total contrast to the harsh reality that the real parents were so keen to disown. My mother used to throw her arms up in forlorn hope we would all disappear. The long summer school holidays were total torture. My mother, bent over the scrubbing board, used to enrol us in an organisation with the cruel name ‘Holiday Fun.’ All this entailed, were long laboriously boring walks around The Hague with a whole tribe of other kids whose mothers all connived to have rid of them during the summer holidays.  Having six children would drive anyone to drastic measures, if not also dump them in orphanages or put up for adoption.

Seventy years later, we too utter similar words but not to our off-spring.  Fair crack of the whip, it is their turn for despair. WE are now enjoying the freedom of retirement. No, we have a set of different criteria to complain about. Now it is ‘where does all this dust come from?’

Anyone intimate and so close to vacuuming as I am, could not help but come up with that question. I now have two at my disposal. One, is a Norwegian vacuum cleaner, the other a cordless with lithium battery. They get a work-out every week. It never ceases to amaze me about the enormous quantity of dust. I can’t wait for the vacuuming to get finished in order to peruse the volume of dust in its container. I know Australia is a dusty country. Compared with Thailand or Indonesia, our near neighbours, Australia far outweigh in the dust department. Is this why so many have breathing problems? I don’t know but thought of throwing up the question to you, dear readers. We now have reverse cycle air conditioning which I hope will suck some of the dust out of the air into its return inlet filter.

Helvi and I  are amazed each time we empty the vacuum cleaner. In a special light during early morning or afternoon with the sun streaming in at a certain angle, one can see dust particles dancing around the lounge room in a rather taunting fashion. I have to restrain myself not to get up and start vacuuming the very air we are breathing.

Where does all this dust come from?

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20 Responses to “Where does all this dust come from?”

  1. Yvonne Says:

    It’s one of those unanswered questions, akin to “What is the meaning of life.” Just like you and Helvi, emptying the vacuum cylinder is an occasion of wonder. Maybe we need a different hobby?

    Is it cold in your area? It is here in NE Victoria. Cheers.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. shoreacres Says:

    You’ve reminded me of a particularly nasty habit one of my friends had. Everyone writes their initials in household dust — just like writing “wash me” on the back window of a dirty car. But my friend? He’d not only initial the dust, he’d also date it. He imagined it would shame me into dusting on a more regular basis. Silly man.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      That really tops it, Linda. We have friends that don’t vacuum and are proud of it. We are slowly converting our town-house with as much of the furnishings and cupboards, wardrobes coloured in a dove grey fading into fawn. It’s not easy to imitate dust but we are getting there.
      I have forgotten the name of a very funny man who proclaimed he never cleaned or dusted anything. He said; ‘after a while all the dust settles into the corners of the room like so much snow.’ I thought that rather poetically expressed.
      I remember now, Quintin Crisp was his name.


  3. petspeopleandlife Says:

    I imagine that dust is the bane of most households. You and Helvi need to get an air purifier that has a hepa filter and a charcoal filter. I have 3 in my house. I’m not an immaculate housekeeper since I have so many other things to do. The drive way that goes around my house is gravel and I could dust all day long and never rid my house of dust. But the air purifiers really filter the air of some dust and collects the fine pet hair that floats through the air.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Most dust here and in the cities are rural from origin. When we lived in the big city (big smoke) I understand dust with coal power stations, lots of cars etc. But here in this small town with no industry and few people it is no different.

      Australia has one of the largest percentage of people with breathing problems, especially asthma, in the world.

      Having spent time in Indonesia and Thailand with hundreds of motor bikes racing just meters away from the home-stay or lodging house, every hour, even after a week; little dust to speak off and…even more importantly, no flies or mozzies. Fly screens are no-where to be seen.

      It is a mystery but I reckon lots of dust gets blown around. This is a very arid continent.
      We now have a good filtering system via the ducted aircon. I have yet to wash the filter but am curious to see what will wash out.

      As for those flies. There is enough for a whole book to be written about that alone.

      Liked by 1 person

      • petspeopleandlife Says:

        Gerard, you did something good when you installed a filtering system. I wish that I had that for my home. All I have are window AC units but I remove the charcoal filter weekly and vacuum the filter. The filter is replaced when it wears thin.

        That’s a sad state where so many individuals have asthma. It is a tiring disease that most times leads to COPD. It is costly and folks go around with oxygen tanks every place they go. I see a goodly number of that here- not sure if it’s from dirty air or smoking.

        Seems odd that Indonesia, etc. has no mosquitoes or flies. Maybe there are many birds that keep those in control as well as bats?

        Liked by 2 people

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Yes, the filter is located on the ceiling and can be taken out within a couple of minutes for hosing outside. It draws in the air, filters it through a large hepa filter 40cm by 80 cm, and then pumps the air, either heated or cooled to all the vents, both downstairs and upstairs.
        It seems to work well and both of us seem to be coughing a lot less.
        Smoking of course is deadly. However, all that sugar ingesting is now turning out to be just as bad.
        On the other hand, we are also told we are overdoing it with wiping and overdoing it with the Dettol.
        A good way of avoiding infections is to live on a farm with animals.
        Those twin-set toilet seats in Finland, and in those Baltic countries should perhaps be made obligatory. I am buggered though if I am going to ablution next to our PM Malcolm Turnbull.


  4. berlioz1935 Says:

    First, dear Gerard, most dust is your own dead skin. Then, about 500 tonnes of dust falls onto Earth every day from outer space. The rest is probably from your neighbours when they sweep their dust out the door. Wenn I sweep the floor I notice that must stuff on the floor are breadcrumbs.

    On being freezing in NSW. Isn’t Helvi laughing her head off? She should be used to the real cold in Finnland.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      My own skin, yuk. I thought I could detect something a bit dead in the vacuum cleaner but it was a lizard.

      No, there is real dust out there as well. I make a bit of a song and dance every couple of weeks by going outside and demonstrably shake my big swabber high up in front of the nasty cyclamen stealing neighbours. After that it gives reason for endless heated committee member meetings.

      You should see the dust flying about, Peter. I follow that up by brushing the fly-screens outside. Surely, the outside is not being littered by my own skin? I am still alive.

      It has been cold the last couple of days. Helvi loves it, especially when inside it is a balmy +24c.


  5. leggypeggy Says:

    I love this post and all the comments. I’m on holiday, and at the end of the month, will go home to two month’s worth of dust. I wonder how long I will be able to postpone dealing with it?

    Liked by 2 people

  6. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    May I add to this: “where does all this hair come from?” The answer of course is Charlie. We have gone through several vacuums cleaners in the past few years. A new one arrived the other day. The reason? Dog hair. I had a wonderful brush a Furminator, which somehow disappeared during my long period of illneww. I just ordered another. Meanwhile I brush, brush brush with the one I have/ Dr. A and I amuse ourselves also by guessing how much dirt and hair we get up each swipe of the machine. It doesn’t take much to amuse the elderly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Kayti. We too amuse each other by studiously poring over what comes out of the vacuum cleaner. It is mainly dog hair but Milo hardly acknowledges that. Sometimes there are surprises.

      Last week a silver earring rattled down into the bin. It was the one I spent hours looking for. Helvi, sometimes even during midday, tries on some jumper or a different cardigan and in the process dislodges an earring.

      She then gets me afterwards to crawl all over the floor to try and find this covetous jewellery item. Nothing makes her happier then when I find it. The cordless vacuum is marvellous in finding lost earrings.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Curt Mekemson Says:

    Oh my, I think I’ll go push Robota’s button and send her off to collect dust. 🙂 If she just didn’t try to eat my feet! (Kidding) –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      We too had a robot vacuum cleaner. I used to watch it going over the wooden floor. Alas, it used to get stuck on electrical leads that snake across the floor connecting all sorts of electrical gadgets,. which proved that going cordless has its disadvantages.


  8. mistermuse Says:

    “Mite” I say that I find this dusty post and comments very interesting and amusing, which is no doubt more than can be said of my bad “dust mite” pun….speaking of which, with all that dust, do you have a big dust mite problem — correction: do you have a LITTLE dust mite problem? (“Big” and “mite” are an oxymoron, and I’m not exactly a genius either.)


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I have yet to find dust-mites. I never received the microscope my father promised me. I have seen pictures of mites and they frighten me. They have fangs and are bloodthirsty. I have enough to cope with Trump.
      Is he a fixation or a real mite ?


  9. markmhamann Says:

    speaking of which, with all that dust, do you have a big dust mite problem — correction: do you have a LITTLE dust mite problem?
    Is he a fixation or a real mite ?


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