Wednesday, 11 September 2013


The Thing is a clothes airer. When I was a kid, in the days when dinosaurs roamed the earth, we had a 'clothes horse'. It was wooden, and a bit like a gate that unfolded and stood in front of the fire or the stove with damp washing draped over it. It was also a tent, a castle, a house, or just a place to hide with a book and stay out of trouble.

I recently bought a modern heated version of the same thing, a metal and plastic thing that unfolds into a tower of platforms, considerably taller than I am. Yesterday, with the rain hammering down on the garden and a heap of damp washing sulking in the basket, I set it up. Given that we still have book mountains all over the floor, this may not have been wise.

'It'll go in the dining room for the time being', I said, and walked the Thing into place. Well, the Thing could get in there but then I couldn't, and I as I had the laptop set up in there it was the Thing or me.

'I'll put it in the hall.' But with the thing in the hall nobody could get anywhere, and I didn't feel like folding it up again and hauling it up to the attic, so I settled for the kitchen. Draped with everything that had just flopped out of the washing basket it fitted just too snugly between the cooker, the cupboard where the plates live, and the fridge. We calculated. To have lunch, we needed the fridge and the cupboard more than we needed the cooker. Move the Thing about eight inches south. When it was time to cook, I had to get everything out of the cupboard first and then jam the Thing against the door. That would have been all right until I needed access to the garage. Steered thing ninety degrees south-south-east. Thing now obstructing fridge again, and by the time I'd sorted out the garage I was ready for a cold drink. Steered the thing into dry dock. Opened fridge.

All is now done, the washing is aired and the thing is folded up in the utility room. I can't remember Mum having this trouble with the clothes horse.


Samantha Silverstein said...

Read a wrinkle in time.

margaret mcallister said...

Sam, I read that years ago, and now I can't remember a thing about it. I bought a copy for my godson, too, so I must have liked it! It's time I read it again. Thanks for reminding me.