Ironing in bra and knickers
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Look lovely for your husband... why not massage his feet? (Reasons on a postcard, please)
For reasons of propriety, health and safety, I wouldn’t normally recommend ironing in your bra and knickers.
Gentlemen readers can ignore that or try something new, as they wish. My friend Kate was thus attired when she sustained a nasty burn to her tummy, caused by standing too close to the ironing board. Consequently, I had always felt it was too dangerous but, with a three-week pile of clean, creased linen, I felt that, even in a heatwave, there was no other option but to fire up the Morphy Richards and take off as many clothes as could decently be discarded without scaring the horses.
After half an hour of slaving over a very hot iron, the sweat droplets were coursing down my forehead and into my eyes, making them sting... if only I hadn’t plucked away most of my eyebrows in the Seventies.
Thirteen men’s shirts, one pair of women’s cropped linen trousers and a tea towel later. I fell exhausted on to the sofa. I would have cracked open a bottle of prosecco but I was too weak to pop the cork.
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My husband, who you may recall, is now completely retired, came home from singing in a concert and noted my state of partial undress.
“You look nice,” he said.
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I narrowed my eyes and briefly wondered if he was labouring under some sort of misapprehension that I was in just my bra and knickers for him... surely not, he’s retired.
Some of that 1950s advice to housewives recommends looking lovely for your husband when he arrives home from work. A home economics book says: “Prepare yourself” and continues: “Take 15 minutes to rest so you are refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh looking. He has just been with a lot of work weary people. Be a little gay and a little more interesting. His boring day may need a lift.”
It goes on to caution: “Don’t greet him with problems or complaints. Don’t complain if he’s late for dinner.”
You should also make him feel at home (oh, he is at home): “Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or suggest he lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him. Arrange his pillow for him and offer to take off his shoes (they’d be too big for me, anyhow). Speak in a low, soft, soothing and pleasant voice. Allow him to relax ? unwind.”
And pigs might fly. Were they mad?
Anyway, I presume my husband, as opposed to the pampered mummy’s boy in the book, was merely being sweet... or he’d had a glass of prosecco. After all, I didn’t really look nice. I was hot and sweaty, a mass of rippling cellulite, splayed out on an armchair.
I decided to fill him in on latest developments.
“I’ve been ironing... there are a few things left.”
“I’ll do the rest on Monday,” he said.
That was a week ago.
I have noticed that “I’ll do that on Monday” has replaced his former stock phrase. “I’ll do it later.” “Later” served him well for 40 years of his working life but now he no longer has to work, I imagine he thinks “Monday” sounds more definite.
I am coming to realise that it is just as fluid a word as “later”.
I recently had a small sheaf of cheques to pay in for travel expenses and he said: “I’ll go to the bank on Monday and pay those in.”
Monday evening. “Did you pay in the cheques?” I asked.
“No, because I had lunch with Ruth (our daughter).”
Some time ago, I told him the tale a former colleague related to me about time management among retirees.
“I say, let’s go out for coffee on Tuesday” and my (retired) friend says: “Yes... no, I can’t do Tuesday, I have a dentist’s appointment.”
In the end it transpired that his friend had one thing to do every day (doctor, 10% discount day at B&Q, library trip etc) and so they arranged coffee for the following week.
In the end, we went to the bank together on Thursday... a day with no prior engagements.
If I seem uncharacteristically waspish (what do you mean ‘uncharacteristically’, Lynne? ED), it’s because I haven’t had a good night’s sleep for weeks.
We’ve had the fan on in the bedroom at night but it’s noisy so we turn it off and then we get too hot, so we turn it on and then it’s too noisy again... Eventually we manage to nod off only to be woken at dawn by the crows having a run-in with the gulls. With the window wide open it sounds like a war zone out there.
I suppose I could get up early and finish the ironing... but I’d better not because my husband says he’s going to do it on Monday.