I have to admit to being a teeny bit negligent in the washing department recently. Also the folding and putting away facility seems to have closed down. The end of the school year means that I have no urgent need for clean school clothes for my children. Of course my husband still has to go to work and I just about manage to make sure he is provided for – he is very stoical about these things and knows I will resume normal business soon.
However, we did have a little girls’ knickers crisis the other morning as they had run out of clean knickers. Clean knickers were retrieved from the heads of various stuffed toys, and we then had a wrong colour knickers crisis. It was duly pointed out that there was a choice between wrong colour knickers, no knickers or dirty knickers. It was also pointed out that the stuffed toys were NOT going to wear dirty knickers and they could manage for a day without their ‘directional ear trainers’.
Once my sulking daughters were clothed and eating their breakfast I told them the story of my bad knickers day when I was a child …
… long, long ago I used to go to a rather posh school with a strict dress code. Our uniform was bottle green – even the knickers. Of course, being a rather naughty little girl I didn’t always wear my bottle green knickers. The only day we HAD to wear them was when we had gym or netball. (For some bizarre reason we did sport in our knickers and a gym shirt until we were in senior school, then we got to wear a sports skirt.)
One morning I was getting ready for school when I realized it was a netball day and I didn’t have a clean pair of uniform knickers. I raced downstairs and broke the bad news to my mother. We were both worried and close to panic as my rather posh school was also rather strict and not only would I get into trouble for having non-regulation knickers but my mum would too. My mother, however, was resourceful.
In between cooking breakfast for our lodgers and making packed lunches for my brothers and me, she managed to wash a pair of my knickers. This was great, I had clean knickers but they were wet. How on earth could we dry them? We had wrung them as dry as possible, but the seams were still wet. My mother had the amazing idea of drying them in the oven!! Brilliant!! My mum put my nice clean knickers on a baking tray, popped them in the oven, then resumed her busy morning routine. I had my breakfast and got my school bag ready.
Then I waited for my knickers.
I didn’t dare interrupt my mother who was doing her usual morning magic of extreme multi-tasking.
I waited for my knickers.
I didn’t dare stop my mother from going upstairs and getting herself ready for work.
I could smell something nasty.
“MUMMM!!! MY KNICKERS!” I finally managed to scream up the stairs. My mum raced down the stairs, crashed open the oven door, avoided the billow of poisonous smoke and snatched out the baking tray with something on it that was smelling and smoking badly.
As my mother burst out laughing and I burst out crying the smoke cleared enough for us to see that my nice, clean bottle green knickers were now very black, very small and very brittle. In true 1970’s style, my knickers were mainly made of plastic, so they melted rather than dried. Without knowing it, my mother made the first pair of Shrinky Dink knickers!
Of course I didn’t get to wear my uniform knickers to school that day. As my teacher blasted me out for wearing the wrong knickers I kept silent about the early morning trauma, instinctively knowing that I wouldn’t be believed.
I put some washing on, while my daughters continued to laugh.