December 10, 2010
Christmas holidays are galloping towards us at an undignified rate and they always remind me of the holidays I spent making beds in a nursing home with my friend Sian. This was only my second-paying job ever and we were only 14/15 at the time (I was 14). These are the things I remember about that time:
• we had to wear flat shoes and I wore my favourite blue suede desert boots, which were not quite regulation
• there was a particular lady who used to dress inside out and stand facing the wall called ‘Doris’ and we just bustled along and did our job, as if this were normal with a ‘good morning, Doris’ and a ‘have a nice day, Doris’ when we left
• there was a man there with one leg who always wanted to tell us where the other leg was
• the matron was very strict but had a definite twinkle in her eye
• the three hours each morning flew by as we made beds and I told Sian an ongoing serial about an ongoing boyfriend, some of which may or may not have been strictly true (embellishments always) but certainly made hospital corners painless
Someone asked me once, how could you do such a job, wasn’t it heartbreaking? But we were young, old age was a lifetime away, and I suspect our bustling naivety brought a little light each morning. I hope so, anyway.