'Oh, what to do?' I wailed, because I lived in that house. It was house where the men folk believed that such chores were womens' work and I was stupid enough to believe them. It was my problem and I must find a solution or become as a limp rag.
It came to pass, having offered up a votive card in the Post Office Window, that we were blessed with an 'ironing lady'. Her name was June.
She came to my house for perhaps 10 or 12 years in total, starting with housework and by degrees refining her workload to getting to the bottom of the mountain of ironing. Shirts on hangers - always perfect, Alan's trousers pressed 'just how he liked them'. That was important. Perfect, June.
She flirted with the Glam.Ass. My young men, then boys, loved her - made her tea and provided Kit-Kats. She and I talked - and in the time we talked I guess I could have done my own ironing. We shared our triumphs, woes and worries....Her troubles were mine and mine were hers. Secrets were safe. She knew if I'd done something soooooo studid that I hardly dare admit it, she knew where our wills were and where the car keys and jewellery were stashed when we went on holiday. Just in case.
Without an ironing board between us though we would probably never have exchanged a word. How much I would have missed.
Hands up now, how many of us think that housework - cleaning, ironing - is some sort of demeaning task? Utter waste of time and energy? Hmm - I thought so.
You've guessed of course......she is no more. Her son emailed a couple of days ago to say she had died in February - he was letting people know. He'd nursed her through a short illness which turned out to be a debilitating brain tumour. (That's no job for a lad to do is it?) There had been no card this Christmas - a bit of a clue in retrospect - odd, but we've been away for over 6 years now and lives do move on. My friend is gone and I am sad that she won't now enjoy the leisure time she was looking forward too so much - and so deserved.
June: eternal optimist, Meatloaf's biggest fan, ever in search of Mr Right and a house without stairs; the next creased basket of washing, which I shall attack tomorrow morning, is dedicated to you. I shall leave no crease unpressed. RIP. xx