Thursday, 8 July 2010

The Washing Up Fairy

WASHING UP seems to breed in our house. Before going to bed I clear the day’s accumulated cutlery and crockery, gathering dishes, plates and mugs from their hiding places around the house and scrape away at the remnants of food welded to the surfaces.

By the following morning the washing up bowl is always full again – seemingly without the help of human hands, since the Man of the House and The Daughters always maintain they have had nothing to eat or drink, and claim the pile of dirty crocks has nothing to do with them.

It’s like the Elves and the Shoemaker in reverse.

Today’s tally included:

• four teaspoons

• three dessert spoons

• three knives

• two forks

• one small plate

• one bowl with cereal glued to it

• one plastic dish coated with a green, greasy substance

• four mugs

• one drinking glass

• one empty plastic bottle destined for the recycling bin

• one disgusting frying pan (I admit this one was my fault since I cooked sausages, mushrooms tomatoes and gravy in it and left on the cooker – but I am vegetarian and I think my family should have been so grateful for me for cooking food I don’t eat that they washed it up)

What do they think I am? The Washing Up Fairy? If Terry Pratchett hasn’t already included her in one of his Discworld novels he should.
I picture her, short, stout and grumpy, with limp hair and a plain face, standing at the sink, her hands protected with bright yellow rubber gloves. She wears a delicate frilly, lacey apron over a short pink tutu, the smooth satin top and layers of net trimmed with diamante.

There’s more diamante on her tiara, which has a tendency to slip to one side, and on her earrings, which could double up as chandeliers. To finish off the ensemble her chunky legs are clad in sparkly silver tights, while her feet are thrust into balding, furry, pink slippers.

She went into the business because she likes bubbles: she loves their iridescence as they shine in the sun, each a perfect little sphere, whole floating worlds full of nothing.

No-one told her about the grease, the burnt pans, the left-over food, the mugs that look like chemical experiments and, worst of all, the blocked sinks…

As you can see, she is obviously a relative of Hannah Swain's Food Fairy and, perhaps, of the Fat Lady who appears (briefly) in Margaret Atwood's 'Lady Oracle' which is one of my most favourite books.

And that leads nicely into the fact that more of the books I ordered have just arrived from Amazon. Although I live in the Midlands I am supporting the Summer Reads project run by Writers' Centre Norwich ( by reading my way through their recommended books.

I was going to start a new one today, but I really should tidy the house first, so you will have to wait for my next post to see the other side of this picture and find out what what I am reading.

Meanwhile I have managed to put a visitor counter on the blog – but if no-one reads my scribbling I will have to take the counter off!

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