This is the most middle-class, middle-aged stuff I’ve ever read!’ raged a malcontent a few weeks ago when she took umbrage at my rant about cooking the dinner. Well yes, she may have had a point: I think we’re all agreed by now, that I’m more middle class than a one-shot latte in Kaffe O. Middle aged though? That stung a bit, I must say: I’m only 42, FFS. Sometimes, I still feel like a youngster; a fact to which LSB will testify, especially when it comes to renewing the car tax.
But a few times recently, I must confess that I have tragically felt very middle-aged. I blame Radio Two, and Claudia Winkleman in particular. The other day I was nipping down to the shops to pick up a few bits in M&S for the lunch. And there was Claudia, waxing lyrical about a tip Sally Traffic had shared the previous week about putting on a duvet cover. Tragically, she didn’t elaborate on it, and I still haven’t got around to searching for the feature on BBC Sounds. I struggle with a duvet cover, despite people saying: ‘Ooh, just turn it inside out!’
I still end up making a Horlicks of the whole thing and end up trapped inside, like Casper the Friendly Ghost’s deranged sibling. The duvet tip though, sparked a whole rake of people ringing in with ‘top tips’, or, as they’re known now apparently, ‘life hacks.’ All you cool young things will know, but I’m late to the party because I’m still stuck inside the fucking duvet cover.
Anyway, this woman was ringing in with the BEST, EVER vacuuming tip and a younger SWB would just have turned off the engine immediately and headed on into the shop. But wait to hear what 42-year-old SWB did. She only sat in the car and delayed going in to get her edamame salad and salmon nigiri, to hear the Henry the Hoover tip. Apparently, according to woman, (who had stayed up late from her home in Melbourne to ring in); we all hoover as though we are infants who are new to ‘colouring in’ and do a quick squiggle in the centre of the picture. We take the same approach to hoovering, thus targeting a mere fraction of the carpet. What you have to do, according to our Australian whizz kid, is head over to the outer edge of the room, and vacuum in a straight direction, then veer left and right, thus covering a thorough area in a few deft movements. (Seriously like, I don’t believe I’m regurgitating this for your edification.) This method is known as the ‘shark’s tooth technique’, and is very effective. Many more people rang in to agree. I am unlikely to adopt said technique though as it would involve me tidying the room first and lifting all the shite, instead of just flinging the hoover around willy-nilly and congratulating myself at even managing t do that. Since I only do this once every few months, I’m unlikely to have any pointy shark teeth on my carpet any time soon.
But the fact remains- I listened, and worse still, I found it interesting. I WANTED TO HEAR MORE. Now, if any of you have discovered that you have overnight hit ‘peak middle-age,’ I would appreciate you sharing your findings. Now, I’m away to iron some t-shirts and pair some socks while my husband watches The Euros. May just have a cup of the aforementioned Horlicks before bed too.