ironing boards are too small for sheets

MY wife returned from England this weekend. She’d been away two months.

I thought I’d change the sheets. It’s easy. I’ve changed sheets before. I knew it would please her, coming home jet-lagged after 30 hours on a plane to a bed freshly made with crisp, ironed sheets.

Ironed? I’ve never ironed sheets. I never will again, either, now I know what’s involved.

They don’t make ironing boards for sheets. The bloke in the shop said there was no market for them. But while my wife’s been away I’ve discovered they don’t make ironing boards for shirts, either, and no-one can tell me there’s no market for them.

Only handkerchiefs fit on your standard ironing board. And scarves, so long as they’re pointed at one end.

I suppose if you had 16 ironing boards and lined them up in two rows you might get a halfway decent ironed sheet out of it. But you can’t hire them and I wasn’t going to buy the bloody things.

I put the sheets on the bed instead, and ironed them there. Even that didn’t work. The length of electric cord they attach to on an iron, you’d be lucky if it reached from one end of an ironing board to the other.

I got over it by leaving the iron where it was and turning the bed round. It didn’t do a bad job, but the price was high: one broken vase, contents over the pillow (and bear in mind I haven’t been placing flowers in the bedroom while my wife’s been away, so the contents were two months old), scratches on the polished wood floor, chip out the side of the chest of drawers, and scorch marks on the wall where I put the iron down too close.

But the sheets were ironed. Well, one of them. The second one wasn’t so difficult. I’d had practice by then, and all the things in the way were already damaged.

It looked quite attractive when my wife got home. She dropped her bag on the floor and said, “How’d the floor get scratched?”

“I ironed the sheets…”

Her eyes narrowed. “The floor is scratched because you ironed the sheets?”

I stood at a fork in the potholed track of my life. It began to look lonely up ahead. With padded walls. A dynasty could fall on my next words.

“No, I mean… I ironed the sheets for you. Specially. And all you can think of is a bit of a scratch on the floor!”

“My darling; I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to… you’re lovely and I’m tired an irritable. Forgive me?”

She kissed me. “But how did the floor get scratched. It’s quite… long…”

“I – uh – I fell. Skidded from here to the window. Must’ve been my belt buckle.”

“You poor thing. And I wasn’t here to look after you. I’m sorry. Are you all right?”

“Oh yes. I suppose so. Now…”

She kissed me again.

The survival instinct is a wonderful thing.

With any luck it’ll be a little while before she notices the iron-shaped scorch mark on the wall.