21 July 2017


Gone are the days when household chores were undertaken without much thought. We just did them. No sweat!

Making twin beds each day was no problem, in fact it was something I enjoyed doing. I was proud of my beds, and the way they were ‘dressed’. To me they weren’t just somewhere to sleep, they were part of the room’s attraction and I intended to keep it that way. This is what living in a bungalow does for me, it didn’t matter so much in the big house because the bedrooms were upstairs and out of sight.

Things change, though. Or rather people do. I gave up the twin beds and got one large. Ooooh, all that room to sleep in was heaven even though it meant more walking, round and round, on a daily basis, when I made up the bed. I can’t remember when the breathlessness started but start it did, and always after the morning ritual of making the bed, which necessitated a daily hike round the bed. That was when I realised I was getting older and things had to change.

Bed-making was eased by the introduction of fitted sheets but, after a while, when those sheets needed washing it got to be a struggle to replace them with clean ones. It’s the back, you know, plus that tendency towards breathlessness.

I dealt with it, as you do, until it got to be a worry. This meant a rethink was required. What to do? I remembered when Joe was quite poorly, and bedlinen had to be changed more regularly, I got into the habit of taking the washing to the launderette. They washed and ironed – for a price – but it was convenient and meant I got the clean sheets back in double quick time. Now there is only me, and only one bed, so I started to do my own laundry again.

Until now.

Two large sheets is all, top and bottom, but they were a struggle to fold and impossible to iron, as well as being a struggle to fit on the bed, not to mention all that walking round and round the double bed.  It got that I was having to sit down between each move so I knew I had to do something about it.

Back to the launderette. By this time the price (£12 UK money) had risen to £15 although that wasn’t the reason for the rethink. The shop is a car drive away and if you asked me to walk there and back it would be like asking me to polish the moon. I began to wonder what would happen when the car was disposed of.

Two weeks ago I saw the mother of Paola, who used to clean my house once a week. Her mother had moved from cleaning houses to taking in washing and still collected laundry from the house opposite. Aha, I thought. I waited for her to come out and went over for a little chat…the sort of chat that sounds like a plea for help.

After explaining what I wanted I was disappointed to learn that she was too busy, but after a while she backed down and said she would do it for £10 per sheet. That made £20 in total for one wash. Well, what else can a body do when desperate? We exchanged phone numbers then went our separate ways.

This week was the turn of Molly Maid to visit. Molly Maid is the name of the
outfit that does house cleaning. Two or three ladies come every third week (my arrangement) and will do anything. The agency stipulates that windows can be cleaned as well as ordinary housework, at a price of £11 extra. They know when they’ve got you in a corner, so to speak. A few weeks ago I mentioned my need to have windows cleaned internally (I have a regular window cleaner who does the outside only) and Tina, who heads the team, said she would do it – FOR FREE, but ‘don’t tell the agency boss’.

Now Tina has come up trumps with the laundry. Changing bed linen is part of their duties but not washing them. We got into a discussion about the price of laundry, something Tina felt strongly about. After a few rants on her part about how physically able people were making money out of us oldies, simply because we had no choice. I nearly passed out when she grabbed the sheets and said she would do them. FOR FREE! Apparently, she was incensed by the way people seem unwilling to help.

So off she went, sheets over one arm and the vacuum cleaner pulled along by the other. She returned the washed laundry three days later.

I can’t offer her money but maybe an occasional box of chocolates? I don’t want to offend her and ruin a good relationship. My way of helping could be to provide things for her regular bring-and-buy stall – something she does to help charities. Books galore are waiting to be disposed of so maybe that’s the way to go. Helping her would help me and hopefully repay her kindness. 


  1. Hi Val, you are extremely fortunate to find such a willing and most helpful angel. I am finding the cleaning too much and I am organising a cleaner every fortnight. The windows and the bed I can just manage for now . . . but hope I find someone like her when the time comes . . . not easy living alone after being together for most of one's life . . :)

  2. Hi Eddie. Yes, I am fortunate. Never thought I would have to face a time when I couldn't cope like I once did. Keep smiling, eh?

  3. I'm glad to hear there are still good folks out there that will do the right thing and not try to make a few extra bucks. Take care, Val.

  4. You have found a gem! Love that you are able to find the help that you need. Keeping our independence as we age requires some creativity, as we look for the extra help we need to make do. Worth it for sure!

  5. Carole, you are SO right. I try to keep as active as I can before breathlessness sets in... lol. I still feel guilty for sitting down when there are things to be done. I guess the learning takes a while!

  6. What a great solution. It is a win-win :) and what a lovely lady she is.

  7. Hi Denise. I just hope Tina isn't sent elsewhere. Oooooh heaven forbid!

  8. That's awesome, Valerie! And I think you're spot on about helping Tina in exchange by donating to her charities. It's a win-win situation!!

    I'm so glad to hear that you've been able to find the help you need to assist you in various household tasks. Sounds like you're surrounded by some really wonderful people who have offered their services to you.

    " To me they weren’t just somewhere to sleep, they were part of the room’s attraction and I intended to keep it that way. "

    I feel the same way about beds. I make my bed every single morning so that my apartment looks neat and tidy. I don't like coming home to a messy apartment, such as an unmade bed. And speaking of beds, I'm thinking of purchases a new one this year. I have a full size bed, but would like to get something smaller, such as a daybed that doubles as a bed and a sofa. I live in a small space, so it wouldn't take up much room.

    Hope you're having a lovely Sunday, dear friend.

    X to you and Charlie

    Sorry I'm late to this post, but I somehow missed it on my reader. I just noticed it this morning.

  9. Ah the joys of getting older and in my case of also now being a caregiver having to learn all kinds of new domestic skills...:)

  10. Good morning, Ron. A bit of advice, be absolutely sure of things before switching bed size. Extra room in your surroundings may be better but you may feel restricted with a smaller bed. I was okay with the smaller bed because it went against a wall but once it was moved to a central point I found there was nothing to stop me falling out... grins.

    Yes I am lucky to gave so many helping hands, although most of them I pay a fee for. Hope I don't run out of cash!

    You should have words with your reader, it's not good enough to miss me out... more laughter here. Never mind, all's well that ends well.

  11. I'm glad I live close by my Mom so she doesn't have to deal with those things. I work for her twice a week and take care of all the hard tasks and grocery shopping. Sure glad you've found a solution for now.

  12. You lost me at fold and iron. haha Bedding has always been an awful chore, one I'm very hit or miss with. Come to think of it, I don't think it's made right now. :( If someone came to visit and it wasn't fixed up nice, I'd just close the door. We do have a very 'decorative' set that's red and gold and if we're having a gathering then I will go to the extra work of putting all that together since we do have a bungalow and the bathroom is right next to the bedroom.
    Glad you were able to get the help you need. Great idea on the donations!

  13. Mary, that's the trouble with bungalows (I'm in one) eveyone can see everything. My duvet cover is read and gold with a touch of blue thrown in.... snap, as they say!


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