Saturday, February 17, 2007

Best Sheets

My mother rang at 4am her time with Linen Anxiety - the sudden contemplation of the linen closet at the prospect of guests. She says I freaked her with my Virgoan rolled single use guest towels in a little wicker basket.

The point is not the state of our towels and sheets, but the impossibility of doing anything about it at 4am. I don't think Stefan would notice unless he found a horse's head between the sheets, and she reared me so I follow what she taught me in the first place. These preoccupations are simply the hostess' lot.

It was my mother who told me the story of the best sheets in my grandmother's house. They were bought in Glasgow through the agencies of a friend? cousin? - who infamously said to the saleswoman "Quote retail" so she got her cut. Back they came to the linen cupboard at Naroma where they stayed, right up until the time I went up to clear the house when Aunt Jean was incapacitated, some fifty years later. I took them, along with the old bread bin, my grandmother's poker, her "Wonder Grater" and other odds and ends back to Midhurst, sore at heart at dismantling a place which was so dear and constant in my life. I got home past midnight but reverently opened the wrappings, stripped my bed to make it up with the Best Sheets - and of course, they were too small.


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