Hos­pi­tal corners and old-fash­ioned com­fort

Harefield Gazette - - OPINION -

SO … al­though Wind­sor Cas­tle has adopted du­vets for its vis­i­tors and ditched the old fash­ioned sheets and ei­der­downs, the Queen is stick­ing to tra­di­tion. Our sov­er­eign likes to be ‘tucked in nice and comfy’ ac­cord­ing to a ‘well-placed royal source’. At 90 – why shouldn’t she?

Her Majesty ap­par­ently likes the feel of a ‘well-made bed’, and I’d also like to think she is not averse to a hot wa­ter bot­tle when her toes get chilly.

I couldn’t wait to get rid of sheets and blan­kets. As a child I re­mem­ber them slid­ing off as I slept or be­com­ing so tan­gled up in them I was in dan­ger of be­ing mum­mi­fied be­fore I could kick my­self free.

The day af­ter I left school, I and two friends left for Skeg­ness to work at But­lins Hol­i­day Camp for nine weeks – the whole of the sum­mer hol­i­day. We were chalet maids – as stu­dents, you got the unglam­orous jobs – and on our first day, decked in droopy green over­alls, we were taught how to do hos­pi­tal corners with old-fash­ioned sheets. Our very strict su­per­vi­sor Mrs Eyles (like Peggy’s Miss Cath­cart in Hi-di-Hi) must, I think, have been a hos­pi­tal ma­tron in a pre­vi­ous life.

My first ex­pe­ri­ence of what were then called ‘con­ti­nen­tal quilts’ was on hol­i­day in Aus­tria with my par­ents in the 1960s, and we thought them on a par with eat­ing rolls and jam for break­fast and veni­son for din­ner.

At home in Eng­land we were get­ting pretty ex­otic, though. The new fish fingers had been in­vented and peas, out of their pods, were frozen in bags.

As we didn’t have a fridge, and freez­ers were un­heard of, they were put in the cold­est room in the house – the bath­room – be­fore be­ing eaten pretty smar­tish.

We read­ily ac­knowl­edge the ex­is­tence of com­fort food (my favourite soother is still Heinz tomato soup) so we should un­der­stand the Queen’s re­luc­tance to leave her nest of blan­kets.

I am not a knit­ter or a sewer – I used to get sent out of needle­work les­sons for talk­ing – but when Fisher Ju­nior was born I proudly pre­sented her with a patch­work blan­ket for her cot.

It was just a few knit­ted squares sown to­gether and far re­moved from the an­cient art of quilt­ing, but was a real labour of love.

Maybe I’ll make one for a be­lated birth­day present for Her Majesty.

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