The life and times of a bumbling duvet shaker

WRITING a blog doesn’t take long. The words are released from quarantine and scurry onto the screen. It is, on the whole, a lot less trouble than changing a duvet cover.

Some people are good at these things and others are not. I am not one of life’s natural duvet changers, but in my new role as an accidental B&B host, sometimes that feathery monster has to be wrestled with.

Yesterday morning I must have spent almost as long fighting the duvet as I did punching out my blog. I know the theory: it has been explained to me on a number of occasions. You turn the cover inside out, reach inside to the bottom corners, grab hold of the duvet and give everything a vigorous shake. And hey bloody nothing it’s got tangled again. So duvet are cover are separated again, not that they had every really got it together.

Next you check the cover and notice that some of those stupid little buttons haven’t been undone. So you fumble and fiddle with fingers seemingly designed for other tasks. Then you try the inside-out trick again. You get hot and bothered. You swear because no one else is in the house to hear. And you wonder when life got so annoying.

Deep breath, another shake and the duvet curls up inside the cover, lurking like a dog hiding in a basket of washing.

Do dogs do that? They do in my imagination.

Eventually duvet and cover are more or less in harmony, the one inside the other, no lumps or rucks that I could see. Not that I am a perfectionist when it comes to duvets, more of a resigned realist.

Just now our guest came down for breakfast. She says she was awake at 3am. For a moment I worry about this: was my duvet scrum to blame somehow – and had she been lying awake thinking that whoever was on duvet duty didn’t know what they were about?

She doesn’t mention the duvet but does say that she sleeps badly most nights, although usually she manages to sleep until 4am. In our sleepless house, it’s a wonder she didn’t bump into one of us at that hour.

This guest, incidentally, works in a job centre. When told of my predicament, she wondered why I wasn’t claiming Job Seekers’ Allowance. ‘After all you’ve paid in all those years,’ she said. The reasons are complicated, but mostly to do with wounded pride – and my alleged career as a freelance journalist. The work has dried up at the moment. People tell me that this is what happens. So I’ll hold off a little longer. And anyway I am still writing the novel, the one that will solve all my problems – either that or the Lottery ticket I will buy this morning.

If things get really bad, I can always look for work as a duvet shaker.

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