I have spent most of the day preparing for tomorrow’s visit by the Youngest of the Darling Daughters, full of eager anticipation of a couple of days of chat and the very best of company.
I post on Facebook a photo of the front bedroom, hoping people will ignore the slightly crumpled duvet cover (it has been ironed, honestly, but as regular readers know, I am not adept at the use of
the Smoothing Iron.) Rather, I hope they will be able to feel the welcoming vibes which I have poured into my preparations. The Youngest of the Darling Daughters sends a query: “Where’s the swan!?”
I’m sure you need an explanation, for which I need to go back in time to a far-off holiday in a luxury hotel where every evening, on returning to our hotel room, we would find the room maid had
worked some magic with our bath towels. One time, a rose, another time an elephant, another evening - yes, you are there before me as usual - a swan. I was all admiration at the works of art created so lovingly for us each and every day.
Imagine my delight, therefore, when one of the many activities organised for hotel guests was an opportunity to learn the art of towel-folding from the household staff. We were taught
how to fashion any number of animal and plant shapes out of a common or garden towel - but the one I mastered most completely was the swan. Indeed, when we left at the end of our holiday, I even left a swan on the bed for the room maid to find. Mr B said she
would probably be far more excited about the tip we left her. He was doubtless correct but I preferred to think otherwise.
On my return home, I put my new towel
folding art into practice - for some time every visitor to our home found their bath towels folded into swans at the end of their beds. I’m sure they were impressed. Even if they didn’t actually say as much. More recently, however, my housekeeping
standards have slipped and guests have been lucky to find a towel on the bed rather than having to search for one in the depths of the airing cupboard.
I remember how to create a swan? I wondered. The Youngest of the Darling Daughters had thrown down a challenge and I needed to meet it.
I thought back to
my lessons from the room maid. First I needed to tuck the towel under my chin, holding each end in my hands. Then I had to roll the towel ends into the middle as tightly as I could. “Tighter! Tighter!” I remember my sweet teacher urging me. Unfortunately,
owing to my Problem Shoulder, one of my arms is simply not up to the task so I have to resort to laying the towel on the bed and rolling it up the best I can. The result is more Duck than Swan. I try placing it in different positions to see if it will look
more, well, swan-like but it keeps collapsing on me. I find an elastic band which I hope will give my swan more of a pronounced beak; I can’t make up my mind if it is an improvement or not. Ah well, the Ugly Duckling did turn into a Swan once upon a
Many years ago, the Youngest of the Darling Daughters spent a year travelling around Australia, earning her passage to the next port of call
on her DownUnder Adventure by working as a room maid in various posh hotels. Mr B and I used to fantasise about winning the Pools and travelling to Oz ourselves where we would check into the hotel where she was working and make sure she was our room maid.
What a surprise she would get when she came to change our sheets and clean our bathroom! It was, sadly, never any more than a fantasy but there’s nothing wrong with imagining the scene, now is there?
“Hello!” we would have carolled, as soon as she let herself in to our room, “Where’s the swan!?”