by Angela Wray
Actually, I’m really pissed off because I had it in my head that today I was going to talk about dreams and I promised myself that I would tell you about the dream I had last night. Which turned out to be about dirty sheets. Woo! Exciting, I hear you say, juicy secrets of Pippa’s love life about to be revealed! If only! I wish I could thrill you with how my nights abound with passion, a plethora of pleasurable moments under the duvet, culminating in dreams of recollection. But no. Afraid not. These sheets were grimy. Streaked with the dull brown evidence of unwashed feet. Imprinted by greasy heads and picked spots. Torn, even, by ragged toenails. Somebody else’s. And I had to wash them. Yes, by hand. This was a dream, after all. Real life doesn’t get that bad, not for me anyway. So, that was it. That was the sum total of my dreams for last night. All I have to show for lying in bed for eight hours. And I slept well! It’s not as if I lay awake thinking deep thoughts or unravelling family problems. I didn’t even wake up for a pee. I had a dream about dirty sheets. A short one.
My husband – you know, Robert. Bank manager. Rob the Bank, his mates call him. Ha ha. Large. Yes. Used to be a prop forward. Now, he has the most amazing dreams! Not just about rugby, though that features strongly. In his rugby dreams he always plays for Wales; in real life he only ever turned out for the local third team. And he always scores the winning try, of course. Cricket, too, mainly in Australia. He scored a century off Shane Warne once to win the Ashes (although he did admit he hogged the bowling rather). He’s even scored goals at Wembley, as a last-minute selection – went along to watch, but happened to have his boots with him (apparently he tried to tell them he wasn’t eligible to play football for England but they wouldn’t listen). He’s crossed the Antarctic, climbed Everest without oxygen – this from a man who won’t even go up a ladder to clean out the gutter. Many’s the time the alarm’s gone off and he gets up grumbling “Bugger, I’d just handed off Austin Healey – ten yards from the line, I was”, or something similar. Well, bully for him. I get dirty sheets.
The annoying thing is I do have a life, as you know. In fact, there aren’t enough hours in the day, as far as I’m concerned. Teaching, family commitments, running around after Robert and smiling at people at his bank managery dos. You’d think my brain would have the sense to let me at least enjoy myself in my dreams, wouldn’t you? Have a laugh, do something interesting, even exciting occasionally – say, the odd clinch with Jude Law or somebody. It’s not much to ask, is it? Because dirty sheets – I mean, who wants to think about them? Ever? At all? What sort of sad brain does that?
I’m not even that houseproud. It would be lovely, I’ll admit, to have the house looking pristine, but I’m damned if I’m going to come home after a full day’s teaching and set to with the hoover and the scrubbing brush. What’s the point? The children would just tramp through in their muddy trainers as usual, and Robert wouldn’t like me frazzled.
I could get a cleaner, I know, and actually I’ve had two cleaners in my life. The first one drank. Left half-empty bottles of vodka on the stairs, that the cat knocked over, and hoovered up my knickers causing irreparable damage to both knickers and hoover. The next one, Stella, cleaned the house beautifully but had a problem with her own personal hygiene and left the place smelling faintly of baked beans. Her partner was insanely jealous – convinced that she came to our house for a morning of shagging, or whatever jealous males have in their tiny brains. Anyway, he used to sit outside our house in his Ford Capri, revving it up every so often to remind her he was still there. From time to time he’d ring the doorbell, to check she’d still got her clothes on I suppose. Small willy syndrome at its worst, the children snorted dismissively, but it was more serious for her because she’d sometimes turn up with a black eye or bruises on her arms. Then they moved away. Poor Stella. Can’t face the thought of another cleaner after her.
So there you are. My problems are a dirty house and tedious dreams. Trivial. Yeah, I suppose you could say I’m happy, really.
Angela Wray lives in London and likes swimming and exploring.