May I introduce Elly (or Elee or Ellie or possibly Ely…I haven’t written his/ her name down before weird huh? We’ll settle for Elly I think).
Elly is a very, very important personage Chez Harrison.
Elly was purchased for Middlest by Eldest (well by daddy but chosen by Eldest) the day after Middlest was born. And he/she (we never did determine the sex of Elly it has remained a fluid thing to this day) has been a constant and well loved fixture in Middlest’s life ever since.
He has been everywhere with us. Florida, Norfolk, Spain, France etc. Elly is not allowed out of the house except to make these holiday trips for Elly is a ‘bed elephant’. He was not carried around when Middlest was a baby but until recently Middlest had not spent a night without him.
That only changed this year when Middlest announced he was not going to take Elly on Scout camp. A bit of me died. Middlest has always been a strong character not prone to caring what others think and so I saw this caving in to peer pressure as a sad turn of events. But no actually Middlest had decided not to take Elly:-
“For his own safety. People throw cuddlies around mum! I can’t risk that with Elly” all delivered in a shocked tone.
Generally Elly is packed last. He is on my ‘pack in the morning list’ along with Oo Oo (Youngest’s monkey) and deodorant and toothbrushes. He goes in hand luggage as Middlest does not want to risk turning up at a hotel without him.
Elly is nearly 12 years old. And he looks it. His fluff disappeared a long time ago. His eyes are scratched. His ears flop and his seams sag. To my mind this makes him even more adorable. I empathise with Elly. He looks how I often feel. Tired, slightly put upon but well, well loved.
To say he is precious is an understatement. I cannot contemplate what would happen if we ever lost Elly or he fell apart. It does not bear thinking about.
The fact then that, as we speak, Elly is whizzing around in my washing machine is more than a little worrying. He is ‘safely’ encased in a pillow case. But even still. I am awaiting the end of the cycle in a state of trepidation.
In the early days when Elly was often sicked on or worse he was no stranger to the washing machine. And I didn’t bother with a pillow case. But now he looks like he might not survive the ordeal.
Part of what makes Elly so special to Middlest is this lack of washing for Middlest is a very sensual person. He has an incredible sense of smell. In fact it is quite possible he may grow up to be a ‘nose’ or a perfumier. (He also has a way with words so I guess he would be quite good at the sort of pretentiousness often displayed by those wine tasters on the 1980s show ‘Food and Drink’).
Middlest likes to build up a good scent on things. Like a dog. In fact there are only two sorts of smell tolerated by Middlest when it comes to bedding. One- line dried sheets and Two- his own scent. If I dry his sheets indoors he complains until a few days have gone by and he can smell himself on the sheets again. Luckily for him I am quite slovenly housework wise, especially in the winter when drying the normal day to day laundry is a challenge never mind sheets as well, and so he gets ample opportunity to smell himself. Weirdo.
So for all these reasons Elly has not been washed for …a long time…
Today, as the sun is out and I can produce that other allowed smell- line dried sheets, I stripped Middlest’s bed. Elly was there as always curled up under the covers where he had recently been left by Middlest when he finally managed to pull himself out of the duvet.
Elly was crusty. Yep crusty. Middlest has a very specific way of hugging Elly which comes from his thumb sucking days when Elly was an intimate part of that ritual. (Eldest swears blind those thumb sucking days are not actually over and sneaks in a lot to try to catch Middlest on camera in the act). Elly spends a lot of time around Middlest’s nose and mouth and I can only assume that is where the ‘crust’ emanates from… It’s best not to think too hard…
Wherever the crust comes from Elly smells like extremely concentrated Middlest.
Despite my slovenly housekeeping even I had reached the limit of Elly crustiness.
And so I have risked a wash.
Middlest is going to be furious. I will try to line dry Elly but I know that won’t come close to compensating for those years of ‘me-ness’ he has built up.
I can only hope Elly survives the ordeal. For if a lack of ‘me-ness’ is bad a lack of Elly at all would see me permanently ostracised.
47 minutes to go. Wish Elly and me luck…