Housekeeper’s Diary

By Alison July 2, 2024 5 Min Read

Once upon a time, Mark’s Mum accused me of stealing her spoons. She told Mark that my nineteen year old self was taking them every time I called around and then in an escalation of my domestic crimes, she decided I was probably taking her sofa cushions too, because one by one they were vanishing and two and two make forty four don’t you know and heavens if I was a girl in dire need of spoons and cushions then who was Peggy to have me arrested? Thus she remains the bestest Nana to my overgrown boy to this day, but is sure to lock the cutlery drawer whenever I go-a-calling in case I shove a teaspoon in my bra and pop a cushion up my jumper.

I tell you all this because someone is stealing my pillowcases. They are! One minute I am a woman in possession of many a white housewife’s pillowcase and the next vamoosh, the only efforts gracing my linen cupboard are of the red velvet variety that transform my bedroom into a boudoir and a set of scary black floral Ralph Lauren pillowcases I once accidentally bought in TK Maxx, because I am the kind of person often finding herself leaving the shops in possession of things I had no intention of buying at all.

Oh yes. I used to be the kind of person who had a veritable collection of vintage linens with random monograms and glorious lace (and a single case embroidered all over with Beatle’s lyrics!) and now I am someone who serves up a bed wildly made in layers of the unmatched and frankly I’m not sure what happened. Has Peggy been taking her revenge? Is Finley’s uni room a veritable feast of lovely linen on which he air-fries his sausages? (Oh YES: my son came home with a sheet covered in oil because he balanced his air-fryer on his bed and spilled sausage oil everywhere – I. Have. No. Words.). Is this a house in possession of a resident domestic imp? Is it, could it be, ME burning my bedlinen along with my bra now I am a woman of a certain age and experience bras in the same way I might a straitjacket?

One of the reasons why I have always been so keen on rigid commitment to routine and ritual is because none of it comes naturally. I have to dream it up and stick to it or else all hell breaks loose and I chuck pillowcases out the window and take long afternoon baths instead of licking the skirting boards clean. I am NOT a natural housekeeper. I am in fact not a natural ANYTHING. If truth be told, for me to do anything at all, I have to make careful plans, talk it out with anyone who will listen, create lists and timetables and generally avoid my most instinctive self for she is a woman with a penchant for self-sabotage and custard creams. Thus the mystery that is the pillowcases. For nowhere is it written down in my comprehensive guide to my own life, that once a month a person should take to the cupboards with a bin bag and get shut of anything not currently gracing her bed. While I am rather given to a good clear out, it surely doesn’t apply to binning the absolutely inoffensive and frankly necessary contents of the linen cupboard. When did I go all willy-nilly about decluttering? Have the pillowcases gone the way of the oestrogen I no longer possess? They just… ceased to exist?

Anyways. Yes. My pillowcases are missing. The garden is still a riot of weeds. The landlady wants to visit with what I suspect might be bad news. And what was suspected Covid is almost certainly the very same and I’ve been whacked with a big stick, had my throat scratched raw and taken to my bed to cough my guts up because there are no bones in my legs and jelly legs are useless in any given circumstance.

So in compensation for Summer viruses and domestic impery of the kind I seem to have lost the will to manage, I am eating a feast of cottage cheese and chocolate truffles which I am calling a balanced meal and daring anyone brave enough to take me on to argue otherwise, while Ben lies somewhere across the big hill between us much sicker than with me with the Covid he clearly saw fit to spread around, and my child has declared himself young, free and single and apparently ready to mingle as long as nobody expressly makes any demands of him, and I lie here, left to my own devices and getting up to all sorts of shenanigans from the comfort of my bed. Namely watching A Good Girls Guide to Murder and travelling the canals of France in a boat, decorating my imaginary wide beam in layers of peachy linen and climbing ivy, (a whim that has become something of an obsession and may or may not become a life), admiring stylish old people on Pinterest and having ongoing arguments with my fan which swings between doing nothing at all and freezing me halfway to mortal death. Meanwhile food comes courtesy of a fabulous man in anorak and blood red false nails who doesn’t seem at all put out by the Mad Mary on the doorstep, and the cat, poor thing, is having to bring himself up on something of a wing and a prayer and will no doubt find himself sitting on a therapists couch in years to come muttering about the kind of attachment disorder born of dodgy caregiving from a mother who could no more manage her linen cupboard than she could remember to fill up his bowl.

Oh it’s all fun and games isn’t it?A person gets so terribly bored of juggling nonsense and stealing cutlery for her own entertainment. So today. a little wander around disinfecting things in a throwback to the good old days of the pandemic, with breaks built in to breathe, drink sore throat tea and dose my immune system with elderberry syrup. And then an afternoon on the sofa with a documentary about Anthony Bourdain I have been delaying watching because I know the ending and a bag of Fizzy Fish because a girl has got to get her kicks wherever she can find them.

This too shall pass. Probably like a giant furball. But it will pass regardless. Now should you be in possession of my pillowcases, please see fit to pop them in the post and we will say no more of it. I would hate to fall out with you.

Have a nice day.

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