It seems a long long time since we had the joys of a proper Mrs Mop singing her way around our office complex. Any office belonging to the civil service, had a fleet of cleaning ladies who were actually employed by the service. They were mostly cheerful and chatty but still olly good at cleaning. They would arrive en mass at 4.20pm, and after a noisy catch up on gossip from the day before, they’d gather their equipment and sweep through the building like a bunch of beligerent seagulls. There was no plastic bag liner then – bins were expertly lined with sheets from disgarded newspapers – they were all broadsheets then, the Times and Telegraph. Into this were emptied all the ashtrays and smal materials, then the vacuum cleaners disgorged their fluff and muck. The dusting was quite an art – nothing was allowed to be disturbed on desks and of course, security was paramount so the gents had to be careful not to leave work on view. In the typing pool, the lines of rapid tapping would have to stop and covers be put over the machines with the work still in – so that Mrs Mop could clean up without compromise. We don’t have these fussy measures now but we can still have the excellent skills and professionalism of a team of cleaning contractors.