In the frame

0658/29th January 2023

It was with decidedly less enthusiasm than normal that I struggled to the upright position this morning:

“Oh you cats!” I moaned for the umpteenth time.

Not that I would change anything, ever, but at times cats can really try a person’s patience.

Mostly when you are at a low ebb.

“I don’t like that food!”

“I want my bowl over here!”

“Grrr. Eat, don’t eat. I really don’t care!”

Having raised the window blind, even the scarlet glimmer of the horizon didn’t motivate me as it normally would.

But birds must be fed. Water must be provided.

Out I went.

It wasn’t the most inspiring sunrise, and yet…

Stunning in its simplicity. My camera did not seem to be capturing the intensity, so I pulled out the iPhone for those second two shots. A mere moment, then it faded. Special.


Writing, as I was, about tedious domestic chores, I was reminded of what is perhaps the ultimate bore, which I am personally happy to dismiss, being that I don’t do it. Not anymore.

If you don’t use an oven, you are saved the considerable bother of cleaning it! On very rare occasions I have been known to bake a cake.

Grant makes his rusks and sometimes heats a pizza.

Not a lot of cleaning required.

For which I am most grateful. Self-cleaning ovens? Maybe they are more efficient these days, I wouldn’t know.

My last experience with oven-cleaning was a most unhappy event.

Trying to be helpful, after my mum died, I set to cleaning the oven while Dad went into town to sort out paperwork. He likely would not have noticed or cared, if he had.

When he got back though, it was a little difficult to conceal my accomplishment being that the glass door had shattered into a thousand little pieces. Shit.

Fortunately, he was not in the least bothered.

But I felt like a real mug.

The chore I most dislike would seem to be such a small thing.

Yet I can remember back in boarding school being irritated about bed-making. That was for a different reason, however.

Once we had been summoned from our beds, the holy sisters required that our bedding should be “aired” which challenged one of my obsessions.

When things need doing, I am compelled to attend to them promptly. I didn’t see any reason not to make my bed before going down to breakfast. So I did.

And every morning a holy sister would come clucking into my room and un-make it again.

Those were the days before fitted sheets. But apart from my issue with the sisters, I don’t recall there ever being a problem about making a bed.

At school in England it was a matter of how many thicknesses of blanket I could pile on, plus an eiderdown. 7 layers of blanket and the quilt did not keep me warm.

My aunt Win, who was a nurse, taught me about hospital corners and I could do a respectable job of making my bed. It was one of those things you never really thought about, like brushing your teeth.

As I recall, my bed was comfortable and cooperative. I have always had problems with body temperature and at night I found the way to control it was by moving a foot in and out as a sort of regulator. (Not in England!)

The sheets did not tie themselves in knots or bunch up into uncomfortable mounds.

When I came to America and discovered fitted sheets I thought this was terribly advanced. Until you laundered them, that is.

For years I battled with fitted sheets, as it took me a long time to break free from my upbringing. Mum always ironed her sheets and so did I. Including those wretched fitted ones.

Having succeeded in flattening out the wrinkles, I then attempted to fold them for putting away. By the time I had “folded” the fitted sheets the wrinkles were back.

Since the advent of YouTube, I have learned the technique of folding fitted sheets. Now that I don’t iron them anymore.

So everything should be fine.

Perhaps it would be, if there were not so many different shapes of mattress. Double. Queen. King. California King.

The problem being those latter two and the fact that my sheets themselves come in: Too large and too small.

The result being that the bottom sheet forever bunches up into little creases that irritate my tender skin.

Clearly, I am not the only one who experiences these annoyances.

Not only is there a discrepancy between King and California King, but also in thickness of the mattress.

The result being that your sheets never fit.

The previous occupants from whom I purchased the furniture as well as my house, had helpfully left a set of straps beneath the mattress. After placing the bottom sheet, all you had to do was get on your knobbly knees, pry up one side of the heavy mattress and scrabble about in search of a strap which you then attached to the edge of the sheet.

Straps attached on one side, you were back on your knees to hoick up the other side of the mattress and scrabble about some more.

Now came the true challenge because as you pulled the strap to keep the sheet taught, you could be sure that the clip would fail to hold and the strap would twang back under the damn mattress.

The bed itself is a solid wood frame. All the better for barking your shins as you maneuver back and forth after those sodding straps.

The clips were not designed to last, obviously. So I searched on line for a replacement and chose something called a “scrunchie” which is just like a hair scrunchie only vastly bigger.

This adventure got off to a slow start because the package went missing, either because of the Christmas rush or bad weather or simple theft (poor choice if it was the latter). A second scrunchie was launched into a holding pattern, God-alone knew where.

Which of the packages turned up, I have no idea but eventually, after weeks of anticipation, I contemplated this large elastic band.

The idea was to attach to the sheet 7 clips: 4 corners and the top and one on each side. Then place the sheet on the mattress.

At the bottom of the bed you had two ends of a parachute cord which you pulled tight. Everything snug in place!

It seemed a good idea. And if it was a bit of a struggle the first time, I was sure I’d get the hang of it…

…maybe it would work better on the too-big sheets…

These activities are not recommended if you have a bad spine or arthritic hands. Help could be summoned, I hasten to mention, but I prefer to manage, if I can.

Apart from those minor frustrations, if you own cats, changing your bed sheets needs careful planning.

Upon rising, whip the sheets off before cat decides to install itself for the day in the middle of your bed. You couldn’t possibly ask it to move. No, no, no.

Close attention must also be paid, having exposed the mattress, lest another cat should notice it’s uncovered condition and choose to liquidate, as it were.

Even if you manage those critical steps, there is always the chance that another cat will come to assist.

Or Man arrives to play bed monsters.

It’s almost inevitable in this house, that if you take a photograph of a cat, there will be another in the frame, in this case Panther.

Those other cats never fade from the frame.

7 thoughts on “In the frame

  1. Cats will always insist on helping with changing the sheets!
    And bed-making? Why? Just smooth out any wrinkles before you get back in.
    And those childhood satiny eiderdowns? Always on the floor long before you wake up chilled to the bone and still under a the weight of all the blankets. And then scrape the ice off the window to see if it snowed in the night.

  2. Your anecdotes are so funny and true. One of my cats would carefully watch you sleep and if you moved your feet he would pounce on them. If that didn’t wake you up, nothing would. -Gladys

  3. Wow, your sunrise photos … so beautiful! Oh, Grant bake his own rusks – my mom just showed me last week how to bake rusks (and I’m loving it)! Haha 😀, I do the “foot in, foot out” thing in bed (even in winter) … and I love to make our bed in the morning (now) – it’s an easy one, all the sheets are just the right size, so there’s no struggling involved. Lovely photo’s of the cat on the bed … when we had our spaniels, I had to chase them out and close the door to make the bed!

  4. Duvets took the major pain out of making beds, but replaced that with wrestling the thing into its cover.
    Self cleaning ovens are very expensive here. Twice as much as the Neff model we had installed. Now I wish I had paid that extra!
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. I struggled with changing duvet covers for years but it was when one of the cats peed on it that I gave up and returned to blankets. I also got a waterproof bed spread. 🙂

  5. It sounds like you have had a frustrating experience with fitted sheets and mattress sizes. It’s great to hear that you have found a solution through YouTube.

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