I used to work for a lady called Sara. I was young, living in my first flat and she had just bought a beautiful barn she wanted me to decorate with hand-painted soldiers marching around her walls and multiplication tables in her children’s bathrooms.
As it was one of my first major jobs I was both nervous and rather in awe of her lovely sprawling barn, with stables in the garden and a fireplace that shared a wall between living rooms and kept the whole house toasty warm. It was lovely. Every wall painted a shade of mushroom and eventually decorated by yours truly with everything from ivy to horses prancing in a line around the skirting boards. I loved being there, in her house, living somewhat vicariously through her as deliveries arrived daily to add even more rustic glamour and joy to the house.
Oh yes… I loved that house. But more than that I loved Sara herself. I would arrive in my denim dungarees and paint-splattered cowboy boots and she would open the door to me each morning dressed in the most perfectly pressed pyjamas. Some crisp and fresh and sparkly white. Other’s pin-striped and masculine or floral and oh so gently feminine.
Next to her I felt scruffy and too much. Her crisp domestic wardrobe the polar opposite of everything I was, and though I know she would laugh to think I thought her glamorous, I really did: she became my idea of what domestic glamour looked like – laundered, starched, pressed and fragrant, make up and hair immaculate, and pyjamas so perfectly lovely, there was no need for “lounge clothes” – in fact I barely ever saw her dressed in anything else though I worked there for months on end.
Anyways all this to say, that today as I wandered around Cath Kidston online, I remembered Sara. I saw these happy floral pyjamas and I remembered how over the years I spent in and out her house as she decorated each room in turn, I admired her and learnt through her, one more chapter in the How To Be A Housekeeper I seem to have always been collating…