Between the Sheets !
- 29/7/2008 <--Prev : Next-->
When one requires relief from what is going on around us, solace can always be found by
"moping between the sheets" !!
As a child I just loved the fragrance of a freshly laundered bed.
Give me clean crisp sheets, sweet smelling fragrant pillowslips, and freshly laundered bed
covers, any day ...... if I could, I would renew my boudoir linen every single day !!!
Mother always insisted that we had clean sheets every week, once a week, come Friday, off
with the old and on with the new !!
Aaah ..... Friday nights were exquisite, the pungent smell of "Tide" or "Surf" soap powder,
and the smell of the wind and the sun in our sheets (we never had fabric softener in those
Ironed to perfection, and the bed made with majestic majesty, with mitered corners, stiff
military edges, it all added up to sweet dreams and a happy home .....
In the days of yore I recall with fondness our sweet round washing lady Betty , leaning over
that giant stone wash basin in the back garden, festooned with white linen and bashing
away at the cotton sheets with a large pumice stone !! ( Goodness knows what it did to the
sheets but it made them nice and white. )
There was always a box of Robin Starch nearby, you remember the blue and white box
with the bright red picture of a robin smiling down at you ? I often wondered if Betty put
starch in the sheets !
A combination of pumice stone, elbow grease and those long green bars of carbolic
smelling sunlight soap, and when our sheets were hung on the washing line, one needed
ones' sunglasses to admire them fully !!
Things have deteriorated a little in Zimbabwe, with a choice of brown municipal water, or
lime-filled borehole water, or no water at all, the sheets have since taken on a dingy grey
hue, but who am I to complain when all I have to do is to climb into a freshly made bed
with its sheets so lovingly washed by Gogo ?
Things have deteriorated even further as we travel the world to visit the offspring, I have
taken on a new and healthy respect for the kind gentle folk, who over the years, kept me
cuddly in fine linen !!
Suddenly when I have to wash the sheets myself ..... I am not so fastidious anymore, when
I have to turn my own hand to the laundry .... often the "once a week linen change" will
extend to ten days !! (Ssshhhh !!)
Oh oh standards are slipping. slowly but surely !! What on earth would Mother say ?
It was imperative in our house that the beds were made first thing in the morning. With
this rigid training, I would frown at my offspring when I visited them and found tousled
sheets after 9 a.m. !!
I would be moritified when one or other of the nearly adult offspring confessed, that
sometimes the bed remained unmade ALL DAY !! Shriek how absolutely slatternly that
was, I have to confess with pride that, to this day, I have never ever ever climbed into an
unmade bed !!
But who on earth was the strange person with the odd sense of humour, who invented the
"duvet cover "?
Was it a warped person with a peculiar sense of injustice against those physically
challenged folk - height wise - like Yours Truly ?
When we were little, duvet covers were an unheard of luxury, we had to settle for stiff
bristly pure cotton Black Rose sheets and interestingly woven blankets of gaudy hues
made at National Blankets !!
The blankets were tucked in so tightly that we all developed club feet and knock knees
but nobody minded that, (especially on Fridays.)
Mom had been in the WAAC during the Second World War so she gave us skilled
instruction on mitered corners and a firm stiff turn down of the sheets !! Nothing less
would suffice and woe betide any child who cut corners in the bed making department !!
But if Mom had ever been introduced to a duvet and a duvet cover, I think she would have
had a swift military apocalypse !!
"Get hold of the corners', urged SheHoo Must Run who had lived in the First World for
long enough to have become a Duvet Diva ...... its easy if you get it done corner by corner.
"Climb inside the Duvet and turn it inside out," insists SheeHoo Must Sing, "its easy if you
climb inside and take the corners with you" .....
(they all love duvets cos it makes bed making oh so easy) .....
Well I have tried all types of advice, climbing, cornering, cajoling and coercing.... nothing
but nothing will persuade me that the duvet will ever triumph over the simple blankey !!!
I am but a tiny person and HeeHoo likes a Kingsize bed, you try, being two bricks and a
tickey tall, forcing a king size duvet into a king size bed cover...... !!
Mother always insisted that sheets should be of pure Gatooma cotton, not a thread or a
shred of poly-anything, would be allowed near our bodies in the sweltering heat of a
Bulawayo summer night ... "Far too unhealthy" Mother said.
Well, now that I have encountered the vagaries of a duvet cover and a fitted sheet, and I
have had to actually IRON them myself, "give me polycotton" I shriek. (quietly so Mother
does not hear)
Throw them in the washing machine, throw them in the tumble dryer, and ironing is just
not necessary, and those fine linen/cotton combination sheets that need hours and hours
of careful steam ironing, can be left to rot in the back of the linen cupboard.
Oh, by the way, I can now heartily concur that a bed should not be changed every week, in
fact once month is just too soon !!
P.S. Can anyone from the First World give me a spot of bed making etiquette ?
Someone said "last person out makes the bed" ? Now I am fine with that except that in 30
years of married life, I have never ever managed to get out of bed before HeeHoo ..... so I
always have to make the darn bed !!
Is there another rule perhaps that I should know about, to get him to make the bed