Between the Sheets

      13/5/2022       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 days !!)

Ironed to perfection, and the bed made with majestic majesty, with mitred 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 mitred 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 sometimes


Looking for donations to purchase Mini Sewing Machines for the elderly widows and single mums for a community project that Nozizwe Mother Of Nations Trust is working on.

This will allow them to sustain them selves after training in making reusable sanitary wear and face masks for resale.

Each machine costs approx: U$20.
Please contact Heather +263774401601 or Iris Mhlanga +263772241552 ( if you would like to make a donation.