So there I was yesterday, vainly hoping that the weak sun shining down would dry some of the washing I’d put in the previous night. I was also assuming that the washing line was up to the power of a strong wind and four wet towels, four shirts and five pairs of socks.
The elements proved me wrong on both counts, and thus was I forced – under extreme duress, I might add – to dig out the clothes rack from the upstairs plumbing controls cupboard. Most cupboards these days have a dual function: covering something up, and providing a home for unsightly objects. It’s slightly different with attics, in that they’re there to store suitcases, but for the life of me I’ve never been able to work out what their original function might have been.
I digress: the upstairs plumbing manifolds cupboard is there to hide central heating Mission Control, and house several pots of paint plus the clothes-drying rack. Actually, it’s called a clothes-drying rack, but it doesn’t look anything like those racks your grandparents had over the range to dry stuff. It looks more like a guinea-pig cage designed by a very inexperienced guinea-pig cage designer. As for its function, this more closely resembles the sort of rack used by the Spanish Inquisition. And every time I try to use the bloody thing, I feel like a guinea pig captured by an alien species: “let’s just see what a Human male can make of this little lot”.
I only take out the drying rack during extreme emergencies. On the whole, I’d rather eat the bottom of a budgie cage. I’ve been racking my brains trying to work out how to assemble this rack ever since the Second Mrs Ward left. It’s like a Rubik’s cube, but without the joy of watching your kids do it in under ten seconds.
It came as a flat-pack, and there are two sloping sides which, once you place their ends on the floor, slide effortlessly across the Polish parquet to create a flat thing of twice the size it was when inside the pack. This doesn’t move the game on much beyond simply chucking the wet clothes on the floor and waiting for Summer.
I cannot tell you how many false dawns there have been with the infernal thing. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve said, “Ah right – I get it now”, only to watch as various clips unclip themselves, and we have moved forward not very far at all from flat thing, to thing lying on its side with three other bits waving about pointlessly.
It seems to me to have three possible positions beyond the two already mentioned. One is ‘Ski Slope’, where shirts slide from one end to the other with all the skills I was never able to master on the piste. The second is ‘Electricity Pylon’, where knickers and socks hang off the arms but there seems nothing for the main trunk to do. And the third is ‘Star of David’, where if you mounted it on concrete you could probably sell tickets….but not put any clothes on it to dry, as such.
Anyway, it’s up there now in the third bedroom. One middle thingy is twisted the wrong way and one side is pointing at a jaunty angle towards the ceiling join. Another thingy at the other side is pointing vertically upwards, where a string I employed in desperation is attached to a cross-beam. But it is at least covered in clothes, towels and a small bathroom rug. It looks like a market stall where everything costs 1 euro.
The obvious alternative to this sort of University Clothes-rack Challenge, of course, is a discreetly hammered nail in each corner of the room, and a length of plastic coated cord strung between the two. But I’d hate to offend the poor woman who designed the contraption by saying such a thing.
Mind you, there are misandrists you know: they do exist. And the sole meaning to their lives is the invention of things that men can’t fathom. Some of them scope out the interior of dishwashers, others design the levels in fridges to ensure that neither small beer bottles nor large wine bottles can be stored therein. Earlier versions of the form invented knitting, button-sewing, Superstores, and clothes shops.
It is merely part of the cunning feminist plot we chaps must tolerate. One day it will all end, and we shall be free. Ah have a dream today people, ah have a dream…