Why Mrs H’s complaints are all lining up...

PUBLISHED: 07:10 04 November 2017

Getting washing in: there's an art to it.

Getting washing in: there's an art to it.


Fortress H: Has anyone got the Ladybird Book of Getting Washing In, by any chance? Neil Haverson could do with some pointers.

I have noticed that since I retired, Mrs H seems often to be hovering in the background, keeping tabs on me. Well, I think I’ve cracked it. I reckon having me around all day has caused her to regress to motherhood. To her, it must be like having Brat Major and Brat Minor around again.

In short, I have become a surrogate brat.

All parents know you have to be ever on the alert when children are on the loose, keeping an eye on what they’re getting up to. So Mrs H has donned her mother’s hat to keep me on the straight and narrow.

Take an incident this week.

“STOP!” a voice bellowed behind me.

I nearly jumped out of my skin. I’d had the temerity to insert a glass in the dishwasher.

“Let me do it,” Mrs H continued as I stood there frozen. “It’ll topple and get broken if you put it in like that. The dishwasher and I have an intimate relationship.”

No, I’m not sure what she meant by that either.

I was allowed to perform the much simpler task of getting out the dishwasher tablet and setting the machine going. And, of course, it was left to me to empty it when it had finished its cycle.

Loading the dishwasher is something I’m not supposed to do even under supervision. I have done it when Mrs H is out, set it going and emptied it before she gets back. There have been no breakages. But when she comes home I feel guilty, like a naughty schoolboy who’s nicked some chocolate.

White goods and me have never been happy bedfellows. In an effort to be helpful, when we’ve been shopping, I will put the chilled stuff in the fridge. Along comes Mrs H and, with an enormous sigh of patient suffering, out it all comes to be rearranged.

“You’ve got the courgettes squashing the mushrooms. And you never put raw meat on top of anything. It’s dangerous!”

The weather plays a huge part in Mrs H’s life. I think this is another throwback to the Brat era when the washing machine seemed to be grinding away all day with nappies and babygros. Getting it all dry was a problem.

Mrs H listens to the weather on the radio then checks what the experts on the internet have to say. Often she will ask me to do it. Then, when the duvet cover is finally hung out and it rains, it’s my fault.

“I thought you said it would be sunny periods today. How am I going to get this dry? I can’t put it in the tumble dryer.”

Last week Mrs H went into full mother mode when she instructed me to get the washing off the line.

I was tying my shoe lace at the time and merely grunted ascent.

“Look at me so I know you’re listening,” she barked. Then, pointing at the linen line she went on: “Now look out of the window. Go on look! Get your socks and knickers off first, then my knickers, then my jeggings. Then my stripy jumper then my grey jumper. DO NOT STRETCH IT! Did that compute?”

Has anyone got a copy of the Ladybird Book of Getting Washing In?

I touched forelock and set off on my mission. I carried out her instructions to the letter. I bore the laundry basket back to the house like some big game I had just bagged in the jungle.

Based on the days of Brats M and M being cajoled into helping out with chores for extra pocket money, I reckoned my performance could earn me some beer money.

Dear me no, I had failed.

“Oh no! You’ve left the peg bag on the doormat. Again! It’ll be dirty. Why can’t you hang it up?”

I thought I was going to be sent to my room.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Eastern Daily Press. Click the link in the yellow box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad, serving as your advocate and trusted source of local information. Our industry is facing testing times, which is why I’m asking for your support. Every single contribution will help us continue to produce award-winning local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Eastern Daily Press