“..What are the six impossible things you believe in?..”
My initial reaction when I saw this latest of ‘365 Days of Writing Prompts’ was something along the lines of “List! Yay!” However, having thought long and hard about this, the truth is that I’m really struggling to come up with half a dozen impossible things that I actually believe in.
Probably because they’re impossible, and as such the logical part of my brain simply won’t let me believe in them.
What to do? Well, there is something that bothers me that really ought not to be impossible, but yet unaccountably seems to be. So, no list but: “Rant! Yay!”
Two points of background information here. Firstly, we have a very comfortable – nay, sumptuous – king-size bed. Secondly, for many years I have taken it upon myself to undertake the weekly task of changing the bed-linen. One does like to make some contribution to the mènage.
More importantly, though, I do it because, believe me, changing the cover on a kingsize goosedown continental quilt is man’s work.
Is it me, or is there something of a mismatch between a duvet that is 240cm square and a hole that you would struggle to post an A4 envelope through? Are duvet covers designed exclusively by old-fashioned eiderdown manufacturers bent on sabotage? Or keyhole surgeons bent on drumming up business?
I have a dream. I have a dream that, one day, somebody will design a duvet cover that you can actually put on without having to climb inside a sack and, to all intents and purposes, wrestle with a dead body.
To begin with, it goes without saying that I will only ever find the open side of the clean cover at the fourth attempt, when all other possibilities have been exhausted. That’s just par for the course, though, and isn’t the real issue because, having done so, I then need to get the bloody thing inside.
This is when the real problems start.
Because of the ludicrous incongruity between quilt and aperture, in order to get the gallon (never mind quart) of the duvet into the pint pot of the cover, it is necessary to fold it in half. then burrow around in the dark – at arms’ length, just to make it even easier – in order to marry up this mid-point with the halfway mark of the cover’s top edge.
And that’s the easy bit.
The next stage – still working blind – is to unfold the top corners of the quilt and marry them up with the inside corners of the cover. This would be comparatively straightforward (a) if you could see what you were doing and (b) if you could have got the body of the quilt inside the cover – which of course you can’t, BECAUSE THE BLOODY HOLE’S TOO SMALL.
Those with a basic training in anatomy will also already have spotted another fatal flaw in this process: there are three points where the quilt has to be lined up with the matching part of the quilt, but only two hands with which to achieve this.
In practical terms (ha!), this second stage is not possible unless you do get the quilt stuffed inside the cover. But naturally, the act of doing so means that the corners and mid-point of the top edge are detached from where they should be, given that you’re already one hand short and need at least another two for the stuffing.
So basically, you’re back to square one, apart from the fact that you are by now perspiring gently and mentally inventing cruel torments to visit upon the moron who ordained that the hole should be less than a quarter of the size of the thing that’s meant to go through it.
Thus, there is no realistic alternative to burrowing inside the cover yourself, like an over-enthusiastic vet checking on a bovine pregnancy. On the one hand, the improved visibility is helpful, but this is offset by the need to find even more hands to get the bottom corners of the quilt lined up with the bottom corners of the cover. Somehow it gets done, but not without the muttering of imprecations so vile that they would make an old sea-salt want to run home to his mum.
The final stage of this fraught assault course of a process is to pick the whole thing up bodily and shake it violently so that it isn’t bunched up in the middle. Frankly, by then it’s no longer a duvet: it’s the smug-looking bastard designer.
Here’s a plan: velcro.