So here is a thing about me. I hate ironing. I think I may have mentioned this before. Several times.
It is odd really as my mother quite likes ironing. And taught me to iron well. It is also true that quite a lot of my friends and acquaintances will list ironing quite near the top of their least despised chores list. It is at the bottom of mine. Down there with cleaning the kids’ bedrooms. Even below cleaning shit stains off teenage boys’ toilets.
I am not sure why really. I know some take satisfaction from the transformation of creased articles into uncreased ones. Some people like to do it whilst watching TV or listening to the radio. Others like to stick a flag in their ironing mountain. Maybe some like the mini sauna involved.
Me? I don’t get it. It makes my arm ache. It never ends. And it seems utterly pointless.
Cleaning, which I also hate, has a point. A hygienic point. Laundry has a point. Cooking and shopping have a point. Ironing in my view doesn’t. And so I don’t do it. At all.
My husband has an unfortunate preference for expensive work shirts. And I have found that the more expensive the garment the more ironing it needs. For instance my kids’ school shirts come in a pack of 2 for a tenner, they don’t need ironing, his cost a lot and do.
I like laundry and have a great routine which never sees non iron shirts crease up too badly as they move from washer to line and straight onto hangers. I actually believe a lot of creasing comes from clothes sitting at the bottom of that ironing mountain.
So the only things that get ironed in this house are those ridiculously expensive work shirts.
When the kids were young my husband therefore spent a large proportion of his Sunday afternoons ironing rigid creases into the sleeves of his work shirts. I used to get perversely annoyed as it took him away from helping me with the kids for a good two hours. I was at that stage when I had three kids under 4 at home with me all day every day and wanted any opportunity to off load them onto someone else. I couldn’t do that to a man in charge of a hot electrical item.
So it was a sore point. I look back now and think ‘you unreasonable bitch’. But then that unreasonable bitch was a sleep deprived nutter clinging onto the edges of her sanity.
To sort this sore point out we decided to send out his shirts to an ironing lady.
That was probably ten years ago. And since then on a fortnightly basis his shirts have been collected and returned neatly pressed for a small fee. It is my main indulgence. When I am feeling extremely decadent I will bung in a pair or two of my linen trousers (only in the summer months) which probably do need ironing but mostly don’t get it.
This system works well. I leave his shirts and an appropriate number of hangers in a green and white striped laundry bag on my doorstep on a Tuesday every other week and on the Thursday they are returned on hangers. The lady has a key so she can let herself in and hang them off my cupboards if I am out. It is bliss. They smell great. She does a better job than me and aside from remembering to wash and dry them all in time it saves me a whole heap of pain (in the arm).
The only thing that has gone wrong in those ten years was when I forgot to not set the house alarm on delivery day and I got a panicked phone call during my exercise class during which I could hardly hear my ironing lady over the racket of my house alarm going off. We sorted that one.
Very occasionally I get someone else’s shirts back and they get mine. But again that is easily sorted. Especially as I am friends with her other ironing client. So nothing has really gone wrong. Until today.
Today I put my bag on the step as usual.
My children and I went out to meet a friend and her son for a coffee and catch up.
I got back and the bag was gone. All good it had been collected.
During lunch there was a knock on the door. It was my ironing lady asking for the whereabouts of my ironing.
So the bag had gone. But not to the right person.
My immediate reaction was that I hadn’t actually put the ironing out. Despite being sure I had. We searched the house futilely. We stood around wondering who in their right mind would steal a bag of someone else’s clothes and coat hangers.
My ironing lady left. I searched around futilely a bit more.
I then considered that maybe a charity clothing collector had taken it by mistake. I posted on Facebook. I drove to the Parish Council to see if they had a schedule of approved doorstep collectors. I drove round the village hunting charity vans and bags left on others’ doorsteps to provide a clue. I got mildly excited when I spotted one such van and nearly caused an accident screeching to a halt to investigate. They were merely out collecting a specific piece of furniture. I glanced futilely in their van just in case.
I emptied the contents of my kitchen bin searching for a discarded collection bag. That was fun. Not.
Someone suggested I call my household insurer. That phone call would be up there with the one I made to my car insurer when I ran into my own gate post. Humiliating. And I suspect ultimately pointless in this case. I imagine I am not covered for items left unattended in an insecure area. And anyway I have no receipts. I am just not going there. I am not.
In the end I gave up.
I told my husband who wasn’t as pissed off as he could have been. I closed my brain off to the cost of replacing the shirts. And the two pairs of linen trousers I had extravagantly bunged in last night that I need for my imminent holiday. They are so old they don’t owe me anything anyway. The shirts on the other hand. Ouch.
I am trying not to think about the possibility that the bag was stolen. In broad daylight in my lovely middle class village across my noisy gravel drive with both sets of neighbours in. It makes me feel slightly sick.
But mostly I am trying to fight that niggling sense that this is all my own fault for being quite so bourgeoisie as to send out my ironing.