It's that time of year when we notice the dirt in the corners, the paintwork that needs redoing, the dusty books etc and the urge to do something about it becomes compelling. As you all know by now my motto is 'Housework won't kill you, but why take the chance?' but even I get this Spring feeling that I need to be up and doing and bathroom painted last week and kitchen to come. However, I have turned my attention to something which caught my eye this week and I apologise in advance if I shock any sensibilities, when I tell you that it was my knicker drawer.
Pulled it out and tipped the contents in a heap on the floor and looked at it with a growing sense of incredulity. 'Do I really have that amount of knickers?' and yes, I do. Last count some 42 pairs. Now, lest your imagination starts to conjour up lurid pictures, I hasten to say that my underwear is of the most boring variety consisting mainly of Marks & Spencer white cotton. I do have more interesting stuff than this which is saved for special occasions which I have no intention of telling you about and these accoutrements are kept in a special corner, but the rest of the stuff was sitting there looking at me.
I have a pecking order when it comes to underwear. When going out, I remember my mother's stricture that you should never leave the house without clean underwear on in case you get run over by a bus and are taken to hospital. I daresay if I was run over and was in A&E the fact that my knickers were not exactly La Perla would not worry the hospital staff for one moment, but old habits die hard and pristine white glowing cottons are the order of the day. Of course, we then come to the top half and, once again, when I go out I put my nicest cleanest laciest white cotton bra on with the hook on the tightest it will go so that I am hoiked and uplifted and shaped and can venture forth secure in the knowledge that I am not suffering from Boob Droop.
But then we come home don't we? And what do we do? Well, the bra comes off straight away - no point in looking like a Eva Herzigova when indoors and nobody to see. So out comes the 'comfortable bra'. You know, the one that is now pristine, not brand new but good for sitting around in. We all have these, admit it.
So that is pecking order 1 and 2. Now we come to Pecking Order No 3 or The Bra I wear when I am Painting/Decorating etc. These are bras that no self respecting boobs would be seen it -they are usually grey from repeated washing, have lost all their elasticity and just contain you nicely while you wield the paintbrush or hoover or whatever is your chosen instrument of torture. Every woman has a bra like this, everyone and if you tell me otherwise then you LIE, you LIE. When I painted the bathroom last week I wore an old pair of leggings (won't even start on these but they have the same pecking order as the bras), old grey knickers, old grey bra and a t-shirt liberally splashed with paint from the last time I decorated. The wisdom of wearing such old clothes was demonstrated when I got undressed to take a shower later on that day and found the bra was covered in lilac paint, how it got there heaven knows. At the end of the painting weekend I viewed my garments and decided enough was enough and in the bin they went.
I hope you are still with me as I have yet to finish up on the Knicker saga. After the 'ones to wear when going out' we also have the ones to slob about in (see paragraph on bras) which are usually grey or, in my case, a few pairs tinged a delicate shade of turquoise (scarf ran in the wash) which are rather fetching but definitely low down on the desirability scale. These are my 'indoor' knickers.
Of course, in the end you have to realise that some undies re beyond redemption and must be binned. Before they reach this stage though, they become dusters. My mother again - her influence is profound. We have a slight problem here in that I don't dust, but they are enormously useful when cleaning windows, wiping paintbrushes and washing the floor (yes I do that occasionally) and then they are chucked.
There is a recycling bin just up the road from my flat which takes all materials. I have dumped quite a lot of stuff in there but have drawn the line at knickers. I mean, would you really want recycled underwear? You don't know where it's been. Well, actually, yes you do and there is the rub. Not a lot you can do with them. After reading a book on quilting and, in particular, crazy quilting, in which you use any old bits of material, bung them all together regardless of shape, pattern or colour and create a quilt I toyed for a moment with the idea of such a quilt made with the old knicks but decided against it. The thought of sleeping under a heap of underwear is not appealing. Out they have to go. So what happens next? The answer is 'shoddy'...
Shoddy involves collecting post-industrial waste, cloth and scraps left over from fabric and garment manufacture, and post-consumer waste – used clothes and other household textiles. All the fabric is sorted according to type, colour and grade, and then shredded into fibres. The product, known as shoddy, can, if it is of a high grade, be mixed with new fibres and then spun for weaving or knitting. At this stage, designers and manufacturers are also stepping in and making clothes from this product, making a virtue out of its recycled nature. Look out for these recycled products in the high street.
Now, I do my bit of recycling. I separate out glass, cans, plastic etc but have to be honest and say that being Green is not really my thing and, appealing though they may look on the telly, polar bears are not high on my list of priorities. I do try, BUT doesn't this process of shoddy cause a tingle of horror to run down your spine? 'Manufacturers are making a virtue out of its recyled nature'.
OK fine, but next time you buy a new t-shirt, just pause and think - you could be wearing my old knickers...........