The Sock Fairy

Thank goodness that in addition to Father Christmas and his elves taking the cumbersome task of present acquisition, wrapping and delivery off my hands, that I also have my House Fairy Team. This morning they were able to flutter about looking for school cardigans at the last minute because although they had been washed, The Sock Fairy had not put them into Childerbeast Number Two and Three’s drawers.  Tut, tut.

If you don’t have a resident House Fairy Team, I strongly recommend that you get one immediately for 2019. They cost nothing and really make life so much easier for everyone – usually the female in the house in particular (Human in Charge).  As we all know, more often than not, it is still deemed the female’s job to shoulder the majority of these tasks, paid or unpaid employment, full or part time – the statistics are widely and publicly available if you’d like to argue the toss with me.  I think you can mix and match your requirements, but if I run through the main team for you.

  1. The Monitor Fairy.  No, not like the lizard.  S/he (for no one has ever seen a House Fairy) is essentially in charge.  Not a very glamorous title, and not a very glamorous job either.   S/he has a number of tasks, but in summary:
  • Clothing and bedding.  S/he is expected to know not only precisely what items of clothing are in everyone’s wardrobe, but also their whereabouts at any given moment in time, their status in the wash cycle, and crucially, when the owner of that item of clothing is likely to want it to grace their person, but before they have actually communicated that wish which usually only happens at the point of dressing.   This excludes all items belonging to the Human in Charge – they’re fairies, not wizards.
  • Food.  S/he is to take a note of all of the foods that the Humans (and any animals) residing in the House like and dislike.  They are to ensure that there is an endless supply of those foodstuffs into the House in order that no Human in the house (excepting the Human in Charge) is left to the mercy of The Fridge Troll (see below).  It is also vital that there is a number of nutritious and balanced snacks available at any one time.  It is essential that these are available so that the Human In Charge can list them to the other Humans in the house who announce their hunger for the sole purpose of them being listed and subsequently roundly and repeatedly spurned, even if they were a favoured item previously. 
  • Cleanliness.  It is The Monitor Fairy who instructs The Cleaning Fairy to chisel the toothpaste off the bathroom sink and sandblast the kitchen floor.
  • Diaries – social and unsocial.  Every single Human’s movements, social and work-related are to be noted so that there is not a diary clash.  It is also vital to ensure that the points above re clothing and food can be seemlessly dovetailed to encompass the movements of everyone in the house (Human in Charge exclusion applies).  If there is a diary clash then it is to be noted that as a first solution, if the Human in Charge is one of those involved in the diary clash, then whatever they had planned (work, career, wee on own) has to be ditched first so as to cause the least disruption.  If the Human in Charge is not the cause of the diary clash, then simply cloning of self is all that is required to resolve the issue – see Hogwarts.

Also in the House Fairy Team are the following:

  • The Sock Fairy.  As I am sure you all know, The Sock Fairy is the one who creates all odd socks and let widely known, also puts all of the clean underwear away.  So when someone shouts “I’ve got no pants” in an accusatory tone five minutes before you’ve got to leave the house in the morning, you can take comfort in knowing that it isn’t you that they’re blaming for the shoddy service, but the most wayward and undisciplined member of the House Fairy Team. 
  • The Toy Fairy. S/he knows the location of all toys.  And when I say all toys, I mean toys and playthings that have been completely ignored for months, even years, but suddenly and inexplicably become the best thing sliced bread and need to be located.  This is usually when The Tidy Up Fairy is trying to sneak them out of the house to a charity shop.
  • The Tidy Up Fairy.  Not to be confused with the Cleaning Fairy, who actually cleans once s/he can get to the floor after the Tidy Up Fairy has worked their magic.  If you get nothing else get a Tidy Up Fairy.  They spend all day every day picking up toys, pieces of paper, drawings and other bits of general debris and putting them into small piles around the house.  They are so focused on their task that they go into one room with the express intention of helping The Toy Fairy but then get distracted by something that needs tidying up and then wonder why they came into that room in the first place.  They are constantly concerned that this means something more serious is happening to them rather than they have too many things going on.

Being a House Fairy is not an easy task.  There are always baddies working against the House Fairy Team, and the most notable of these are The Fridge Troll and The Toothpaste Terror. 

  • The Fridge Troll.  S/he (for no one has ever seen a Fridge Troll) sneaks into your fridge and eats all of the food.  One minute it is full, then next it is not.  This can cause such distress to one of the Humans that they feel the need to shout, immediately, whilst their head is still in the fridge and they themselves are hanging off the fridge door and leaning into it that “there’s nothing in the fridge.”  Again, this has a tone which suggests that this parlous state of affairs is All. Your. Fault.  Of course it is not, it is The Fridge Troll and their evil works.
  • The Toothpaste Terror.  Rather like Pan’s Shadow, this Creature of Darkness flits into the bathroom and layers toothpaste onto the basin in such a manner that it hardens in seconds and then, just so you know they’ve been, they spit the remainder all over the mirror. This needs particular monitoring just after the basin and mirror has been cleaned as that is the time when the bathroom is at its most vulnerable.

Before taking a team on, please also consider that most days it will look as if the House Fairy Team have been doing absolutely nothing all day.  On occasion you may well wonder why you are convinced that you can hear the tiny, high-pitched sound of fairy snoring at nine o’clock in the evening if so little has been achieved.  Please do remember that they are to all intents and purposes, invisible and their task is quite literally, thankless.  Except one day, just one day, maybe they will hear someone mutter something that will keep their heart warm when their magic starts to fade: “Mummy, sometimes when I can’t get to sleep, I put my nose into the pillow because it smells of you. It makes me feel better and then I can go to sleep.”

Happy New Year. 


The Thirteenth Day



Well Happy New Year and all that shebang to you. Did you spend New Year’s Eve partying until the wee small hours? Or did you, like me, have a couple of drinks and then because you had to get up with small people at some ungodly hour, decide that discretion was the better part of valour, and toddle off to bed? Resolutions? Resolution not to make any more resolutions? Diet? Gym membership?  Whatever you did, whatever promises you made, we now all find ourselves six days into 2017. Most people weren’t all that sorry to see the back of 2016.

Yesterday was Twelfth Night. For those of us who celebrate Christmas, it is traditional to get decorations put away by this date. Some of us were trying to cram our artificial tree back into the box, cursing whilst we pressed the branches of it down, and then, like an overstuffed suitcase, sat on the box or bag whilst taping it up, vowing to get a real tree next year. Others of us were debating the best way to get the real Christmas tree into the recycling bin without depositing pine needles all over the house, deep in the knowledge that in spite of this effort, we will be finding them from now until August, often in places that the tree had not been. But I think we should all spare a thought for the poor soul who, if the song is to be believed, had an excessively needy lover, and was taking delivery of, amongst other things, twelve drummers drumming and a very distressed partridge in a pear tree.

So Mr Shakespeare, what is Twelfth Night all about? In a departure from botox and wearing as little as possible, should the ladies in the party get a stick on beard and dress up as men in order to get someone fall in love with them? Meanwhile, should the men retire to a chaise longue so they can drape their hands dramatically over their foreheads claiming to be sick with love, that love being sick because their football team is not doing all that well at moment?

I have consulted Mr/s Wikipedia on this subject, and Twelfth Night is observed by Christians, who are a type of Christian would you believe? It’s significance is that it is the evening before Epiphany and the observance is supposed to be merrymaking. I don’t think we’ll have any objections so far. Continuing, it is traditional to hide a pea and a bean in the Christmas Cake and whichever of the merrymakers discovers this pea or bean may be King or Queen for the night. One is also to partake of wassail, which is a punch, not to be confused with wassailing, which you are also supposed to do, and you either subject your neighbours to it door to door or apple trees to in an orchard, in order to wish for a good harvest. So if you were wondering what all that hullaballoo around the apple trees down the bottom of your neighbour’s garden was last night, now you know.

So today is the first day of Epiphany for Christians. In the West, it is to celebrate the visit of the Magi to the baby Jesus, and the physical manifestation of God in his son, Jesus. In the East, it is to celebrate the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan . If you make your way through the whole of the Wikipedia entry on it, you won’t be surprised to learn that different people do it differently, some people not at all, and that it has been a subject for discussion, disagreement and debate for many hundreds of years.

However, pressing on in a uncontroversial manner, popular Epiphany customs include singing, chalking the door, having one’s house blessed, eating Three King’s Cake and winter swimming. Again, I don’t think we’ll have any objections (particularly the cake), apart from the last one. It was minus one degree when I walked the dog this morning. And I was so well wrapped you could barely tell I was human. No. Just no. Let’s go swimming in July instead. Somewhere warm.

In order to give you chapter and verse, I have furtled about in my bookcase and brushed off my Dictionary of Etymology to give you the meaning of the word ‘epiphany’. It is from the Greek, ‘epiphaneia’, meaning manifestation or striking appearance, which was applied in the case of the New Testament to the advent or manifestation of Christ; a perfect use of the word for those circumstances. It may be used in other circumstances without a capital letter in the general sense of any striking manifestation or revelation. And manifestations may be good or bad. In popular conscience, 2016 will be remembered for being full of bad ones.

I’m apprehensive about 2017, I think we all are. No one seems to want to tell the man who is to become the President of the United States that he has the most ridiculous hairstyle. Just how bad is it going to be if he is that deluded about his hair? And Nigel. Not elected to represent anything or anyone and yet the media insist on defiling my television screen on a regular basis with the odious twerp. And I am sorry to put her in the same paragraph as him, but my mother is having yet another bout of chemotherapy to try and blast the tumour in her lung out. I wonder, as she must, just how many more times her body can withstand the assault. My sister is worrying about her job. I worried about mine for seven years in the recession and I would do almost anything to take that worry away from her. On the other hand, one of my dearest friend’s will complete her first year of teaching, something she has wanted, and waited to do in the whole of the eighteen years that I have known her. Watching someone you love change from working in a job that they want to do, rather than a job they have to do is joyous. Another friend, whom I admit I nagged to do some exams, will pass more of those exams this year. My sister’s job will be okay. My eldest child will go away for their first residential school trip – the entire class is far too excited already – and they won’t wash or sleep for the whole five days, but they will have the most brilliant time. These are the things that I know. On the thirteenth day. Everything else is a epiphany waiting to happen.