Esther O'Moore Donohoe: 'Since this emergency began, I have gotten heavily into…brass polishing'

Esther O'Moore Donohoe describes herself as a Podcaster, Writer and Rhythm Dancer. This week she introduces us to the concept of Next Weekend


If there’s something in my life that doesn’t have to be done right away, I like to send it on a little holiday to Next Weekend. Here are two examples:‘Oh look. That press is hanging off its hinges and the kitchen is on fire. I’ll deal with them next weekend.’

Next Weekend is perfect for people like me who are equal parts optimist and sloth. It’s also great because whenever a Next Weekend rolls around, it’s never the right one and the job in question can be flung even further into the future.

Deciding to reel in my long finger, I made myself a gentle To Do list which I hated instantly

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Now that we are living in a permanent Next Weekend loop however, where bras are being released back into the wild hourly, all my next weekend chickens are coming home to roost (Should I get chickens?). Deciding to reel in my long finger, I made myself a gentle To Do list which I hated instantly.

Domestic developments

The stain above the radiator I said I’d paint. The pictures I’ve been meaning to hang. The giant bag of paprika bought in 2010 I finally needed to clear out. All of these little tasks can no longer be avoided and so far, I’ve crossed a few things off. However, there have also been some bleaker domestic developments that I never saw coming and are not easy for me to admit.

Since this emergency began, I have gotten heavily into…brass polishing. I’ve even dedicated two old socks to be used exclusively for this purpose. ‘Brass polishing Esther? What are you? A tavern owner from 17th century England?’ I know. Before you judge, allow me to explain.

I could finally make it beautiful with the ridiculously priced, thimble-sized tin of paint I had bought.

Many pre-lockdown next weekends ago, when we didn’t have to Dettol our bananas, I decided I was going to make my front door the prettiest door in all the land. Like all DIY projects, I started with great gusto. I carefully took off all the door bits, storing the tiny screws in the pocket of my ‘going for a walk’ gilet that lives in the hall. I then sanded it, cleaned it and gave it a healthy layer of undercoat. I just needed it to dry and then I could finally make it beautiful with the ridiculously priced, thimble-sized tin of paint I had bought.

I had done a solid half a days work and was struck by immense fatigue/I wanted to watch the Real Housewives of Atlanta.

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Reader, if you want to know how seriously I was taking this fit of home improvement, let it be known that I did not colour match the paint. I bought the actual brand. Truly, it was a pre-emergency purchase. Hours later when the door was beyond dry and there was nothing left for me to do but complete my mission, I did absolutely nothing and sent it off to Next Weekend-land for a break. To be fair, I had done a solid half a days work and was struck by immense fatigue/I wanted to watch the Real Housewives of Atlanta.

A1 Sharon

Twenty or thirty next weekends passed and still, I remained completely inactive. However, when lockdown came into full effect, this sloth had nowhere left to run and I decided to finish what I had started. So last weekend, I cracked open the stupidly expensive paint and set to work. Over a couple of days, occasionally chatting to the neighbour I normally pretend I can’t see, I whacked on the topcoat and soon, it looked A1 Sharon.

We all react differently in a crisis and becoming a Brass Polisher has changed me forever.

But what is a door without a dazzling knocker? This is when my brass polishing sock was born. Like a brass cleaning nerd, I set out my tools for the task at hand. Rubber gloves, cleaning paste, old socks and my tarnished brass bits. With a soupçon of elbow grease, I soon had them buffed up until they shined like the top of Michael Flatley’s highlights. I immediately sent pictures into a few select, WhatsApp groups. ‘What do you think?????!!’ I asked expectantly. Not one person responded. But that’s because I knew, they were so overwhelmed at all my efforts and not because their kids were crawling all over them and they were trying to figure out how to work/teach/eat/live at the same time. I had wowed them into a stunned silence.

We all react differently in a crisis and becoming a Brass Polisher has changed me forever. I can’t pretend it hasn’t. When I’m out on my next socially distanced walk and see a house with dazzling door furniture, I’ll imagine a woman* just like me, sitting at her kitchen table furiously buffering her knocker with an old sock. To that woman and to all women I will offer up a silent, ‘Thank you. Next (Weekend) for doing all the mundane sh*te that makes this weird time slightly less bleak.

*Note: I’ve heard men can also buff brass knockers. I’ve just never met one.

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