Sheets, blankets, eiderdowns and bedspreads

I changed our bedding today – whipped off the pillow slips and duvet cover, sprung the fitted sheet off the mattress and took it all downstairs to the washing machine. Now I have written enough about washing laundry, but bedding… How bedding has changed!

You can see from my title how our beds used to be made up. On top of the mattress was always an old blanket and then we had two sheets,a top and a bottom. They weren’t fitted so they had to be put on the bed with precision and hospital corners so the sheet was nice and flat and smooth and not wrinkled to lie on. When beds were changed, only the bottom sheet went into the wash, the top sheet became the bottom; this was because they were made of cotton and extremely heavy to wash, and difficult to dry; before the days of spin dryers, everything had to go through the mangle and then out on the line… it must have been so difficult to keep things clean in wet or winter weather.

On top of the top sheet were the blankets, woollen blankets. The top sheet was tucked over the edge of the folded blanket so you didn’t have a fluffy face! I confess I sucked my thumb when I was little, and I used to pluck the wool from the blanket (and from my poor teddy bear who is completely bald now) I used to stroke my face with the wool… strange child – but as a result my blankets became rather thin and lacking fluffiness!

On top of the blankets came the eiderdown – actually eider down form an (or several) eider ducks, stuffed in a satiny cover. Covering the whole lot to make it look neat and tidy was the bedspread or counterpane. I can’t now remember the colour of the bedspread… was it pale blue? It may have been!

The first time I came across a duvet was on a swimming club trip to Heidelberg. I stayed with a very nice girl called Anka and her family; I guess these days we would stay in touch through social media – then we could only write to each other and the letters became more infrequent and eventually stopped and we lost touch.

I was totally baffled by the duvet – it seemed like an eiderdown in a giant pillow slip… did I wrap it around myself? Get into the duvet cover like a sleeping bag? I eventually worked out I slept underneath it and it did feel so strange; it had none of the weight of all the covers I was used to and how could this one thing keep me warm?!

I soon became a convert – as did most people in the UK – much easier to wash one duvet cover and sheet, much easier to make the bed, so convenient!

Some people still don’t like duvets – they slip off, or they are too hot or not warm enough, too light-weight… However, I think most people now prefer them!

My featured image is of a flower bed!


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