Thursday, March 01, 2007

wringing the changes

Haven't much time to tell you how grim it is up north today I'm afraid but today is one of those days when I rilly think about how my life has changed. The washing machine is broken again, perhaps it was continuously having to wash the children’s clothes after they'd been brushed against by one of the local children coming out from their MMR injections and trying to pass their autism on to my own darlings, or perhaps it was my sitting on top during the spin cycle thinking about Colin Firth one too many times but nevertheless it was down to the river with the washboard today to hunker down amongst the local women and try and get those nasty northern germs off our southern clothes. 'Why do you all gather at this same spot to do the washing?' I enquired. 'because the outdoor privies all empty into the river just down there', it was explained. 'What kind of washing powder to you mostly use?' I asked. 'Serf', came the reply. I began to suspect then that not all of the local women had staggered down to the river laden with laundry simply because they had all been pestered by the au pair to let her have the range rover on her day off, nor that they had all been re-reading Bridget Jones Diary on the tumble dryer again so I tried to conceal the designer labels from my Primark pounding and Wilkinsons wringing fellow washers but alas it was inevitable that someone would notice eventually. ‘Shouldn’t you dry clean Lacroix pet? Said the hunched up old woman next to me on the cold foggy slippery muddy foggy cold muddy foggy slippery foggy bank, hardly visible behind her headscarf and layers of charity shop clothing. She was so old and haggard I asked how long she had lived in the village. 'I came up here last year when I left university' she said. I thought I could get an amusing book about northerners and their amusing northern ways out of it for people to read on the Picadilly line. They told me the americans would lap it up too'. I shivered as a northern cloud blew across the northern low winter sun and the cold northern river fell under a northern shadow, and also as my new friend told me that today was her 24th birthday. ‘where’s the nearest dry cleaners?’ I asked. ‘Copenhagen’ she said, and we both carried on scrubbing our washboards, like an all girl northern aquatic skiffle group, just as if it were 1956. Watford Gap, Watford Gap, Oh to be only fifteen miles from the Watford Gap…sigh

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

At least you're mixing in with the locals - and you appear to have found yourself some male admirers. That's nice, isn't it? Chin up, old bean.

rilly super said...

thanks anonymous. You seem almost as subdued as I feel today, I hope everything is alright.

Anonymous said...

Rilly, thank you so much for your concern, it’s just sometimes it’s so cold, grey, muddy and unutterably depressing that’s it’s a gargantuan struggle just to get out of bed. If I didn’t have all that lambing to do and of course, your blog to read, I would be there yet.

rilly super said...

Lambing, anonymous? in the south we call that 'going to Waitrose'. I'm glad you read my blog though because it's very competitive in this particular genre of blogs and your comments make it worth being lilting and lyrical yet wry and humourous, yet shy and modest at the same time, which is very hard to do, so thankyou for coming back

mutterings and meanderings said...

Rilly, reading Horse & Hound tonight put me in mind of your literary style. You don't pen the 'Stable Stereotypes' column do you?

rilly super said...

mutterings and meanderings dear, lovely to see you again. I had to ask my newsagent if 'horse and hound' was a real magazine as I thought you mught be trying to catch me out and see if I just make this stuff up. 'It comes weekly' she said, scanning my copy of Scarlet through the till and obviously thinking of something smutty to say. Anyway, I'm glad you think I'm stable my dear but I'd hate to be thought a sterotype