Evidence that I probably should have gone to bed an hour ago

Here are some items I can see from where I'm sitting in my living room (oh yes, oh yes, I know how to build up the tension with my first sentence ...)

Item 1. An upside down cushion on the sofa with a cheesy picture of a cat, surrounded by flowers, on it.  The cat therefore looks as though it's standing on its head.  From where I am, it's looking at me gloomily as if to say, 'Will you put me the right way up, woman?  This is undignified.'  But, as I have said to it many times, there's no point me putting it the right way up and fluffing it up and making it look all nice when THERE'S A MAN IN THE HOUSE WHO DOESN'T UNDERSTAND CUSHIONS.  After all, what man does understand cushions, and putting them the right way up, and fluffing them, and making them look like a decorative item rather than a misshapen lump?  What man realises that cushions are meant to sit nicely in the small of one's back and not under one's thighs, being pulped to perdition?  (Any men reading are very welcome to defend themselves.  But I won't believe you.)

NB  Any regular readers thinking ... 'Fran has a cushion with a cheesy cat and flowers picture on it?' are very accurate in their estimations.  There is some kind of nostalgic, sentimental reason why I keep this cushion cover.  If only I could remember what it was.  All I know is that, should I send it to the second-hand shop, supernatural revengeful powers will be unleashed and I will be visited by gargoyles and harpies in the night.  Not convenient, when you're trying to get more than three hours' sleep without tossing and turning about whether you typed a worksheet with enough instructions on it.

Item 2. A Monet print on the wall above my head.  The thing about Monet is, he's good value, because even when the picture has been in the sun for many summers, and therefore has faded to oblivion, it still looks like a Monet.  I swear at one point the flowers were brighter, and the woman with the parasol was slightly more defined, but who cares.  It's impressionist, innit?  And impression is all that's left of this particular print.  The day someone visits and says, 'I like that abstract painting you have up there, all muted pinks and blues but with no particular images' I will take the picture down, remove the glass, stipple it a bit with a paintbrush bearing a few dabs of paint in vaguely recognisable 'woman with parasol' and 'flower' shapes, and put it back up.  Yay!  Another 10 years of good use.  A Monet-saving device indeed.

Item 3. A magazine rack stuffed as tight as a fat lady's corsets with unread magazines and papers.  Do you have one of these magazine racks, too?  It looks so inviting, but I would need a year off to catch up with all the writing magazines and teaching magazines and copies of the Sunday supplements that I always intend to read at the weekends but never do.  In there are also Christmas catalogues from which I never ordered anything in the end because it cost £14.99 for the postage even if all you wanted was a three-centimetre high nodding grandma.  There are big fat 'Come and Stay in Wales/Cornwall/an updated pigsty we gave three stars to' brochures.  And there are crossword puzzle books with each puzzle half-done and abandoned in a very unsatisfactory manner at the point when I filled in a 14 letter clue and then realised it was wrong and I'd done it in thick black pen.  I suspect that, at the bottom of the magazine rack, there are also toast crumbs, fourteen lost pens and information about 'what's happening in Warwickshire' dating back to 2009.

Something else I can see from where I'm sitting is my watch, and it says a quarter to ten, which feels like VERY LATE when you woke up at five from a dream about arriving at registration period in nothing but pink slippers and a nurse's uniform.  So, I am off to bed where I will listen to precisely twenty-six seconds of the ten o'clock news on the radio before I'll be snoring like a horse with long-term catarrh.

He kept telling her she snored, but she swore blind she was just practising her bee impressions for when there was 10 minutes spare at the end of lessons and she didn't know what else to teach them.


  1. Cushions are substitutes for trays so that one may eat one's dinner whilst watching TV without scalding ones legs on the hot underside of a plate.

  2. Oh a cat cushion with flowers, how sweet and you've kept it a secret all this time. I knew there was a reason why I like you Fran, you're a cat lover!
    Men must be taught that the pointy ears on a cat cushion should point to the ceiling.

  3. I won't even begin to defend myself. Read this: http://thinkstew-dbs.blogspot.com/2010/11/new-pillows.html

  4. Of course I know about cushions. Snooker just wouldn't be the same without them!

  5. A Monet-saving device, haha!! I think you were sitting there staring into space when that catchy little phrase sprang into your head. Clever woman, to write a whole post around it.

    I wish my brain still worked so well at a quarter to ten.

  6. Is it a sexist remark to say that men don't know about cushions or doesn't it count in the privacy of your blog? I ask, because Jenny Murray had such a discussion on Woman's Hour re disparaging remarks about man flu and bawdy ones about Rufus Sewell - both of which views I confess to hold... along with your one about men's failure to understand cushions.

  7. Anonymous27/1/11 03:08

    Ah, I found you via another blog, and so glad I did. Love this post... and many of the others I have so far spent time looking at. But I need to get on, to move about to get warm. No, we don't live in a hovel with no heating, draughts through ill-fitting and rotten windows, just a house with major work being done on the central heating boiler on the coldest day of the week so far, struggling to get to two or three degrees outside in the Norfolk air. Not much better in here either!!
    Will have to visit again sometime..... see if your blog is as good when I am not looking for distractions from icy hands and toes that long since lost any feeling!!!

  8. I have a cheesy cat cushion too, given by an elderly relative. I put it away thinking she'd never come to visit but it still worries me that she could leave her secure unit, turn up unannounced and wonder where the cat had gone.

    I jest. She's not in a secure unit. I don't think so anyway....

  9. Oh, wow, you're so on-trend it's not true - I read about a house like yours in 'Pimp my Home' magazine only last week - the faded artworks, the avant garde 'nod to Dali' upside down cushions, even the overflowing (homage to Tracey Emin) magazine rack..... Oh, yes, respect..

  10. Steve - You are very, very wrong, and should be disciplined for such views.

    Linens and Royals - I had a mug once with a cheesy kitten on it which I took to work. It was, actually, the cheesiest kitten in the world. Funnily enough, no one stole it, and for four years I was the only teacher whose mug stayed in the cupboard for her own use ...

    dbs - just coming over to see ...

    Martin - ho ho. Right on cue.

    Deborah - I think you may be the only person who didn't groan out loud at that joke ....

    hausfrau - I am sure it is very, very sexist to say that men don't understand cushions. But also true.

    Maggie - nice to meet you! Do come back when you're warmer. And good luck with the house.

    Lane - in my opinion, anyone who gives anyone else cheesy cat cushions for presents should be put into a secure unit immediately.

    Vintage - I'm 'on-trend'? SO exciting! I've never been even near-trend before.

  11. everyone - dbs's 'pillow post' (see his comment above) is very funny and a confirmation of everything I ever thought about males and soft furnishings ...

  12. Yes, my man (and come to that, my cats) don't realise, either, that cushions are decorative objects first and for comfort second.

    Quarter to ten!! Here I am at 23.27 and just about to begin my marking. Where is your stamina? You're giving English teachers a bad name.

    I'd also like to point out that the pink slippers minus the nurse's uniform would have been worse. But you're asleep, so you can't hear me.

  13. Ah, would that we all had a Monet-saving device . . . as for "toast crumbs, fourteen lost pens and information about 'what's happening in Warwickshire' dating back to 2009," trust me, you're in good shape if you're only talking 2009!

  14. Love it Fran : I always find your writing equally satisfying - whatever the subject might be. Always a pleasure to read.

  15. Ah , you've got my fourteen pens . Though I think the toast crumbs might be yours ....

  16. I live with a houseful of people who just don't understand cushions and three cats who brazenly curl up on them. My mum has a stuffed magazine rack which is fab when I visit as I get to read; The Lady, Saga, the V & A catalogue and the Parish newsletters. Mum also owns a faded Monet.
    Sadly I now snore as badly as she does.

  17. Isabelle - I can't believe you start marking at that time. Go to bed, woman.

    Raining Acorns - so my standards are higher than I think, then?!!

    Alan - you can visit any time with comments like those.

    SmitandSon - pop round for your pens and I'll make you some toast, which you can drop into my magazine rack.

    bad penny - I really like the sound of your mum's magazine rack, too. I love 'The Lady' especially. Their website is pretty good, too.

  18. Cushions with cats and flowers on them? Without wanting to appear indelicate, do you think your husband may be right to be an unappreciator?!! *wink*. But then I am biased because I think cats are minging.

  19. 'I filled in a 14 letter clue and then realised it was wrong and I'd done it in thick black pen' ha I always do this.

  20. Oh dear, I think I must be a man...*surreptitiously retrieves cushion from down the back of the sofa*. And there is nothing, but nothing with a cat on it in my house.

  21. Annie - You just can't SAY 'cats are minging' within the hearing of some of my nature-loving followers, some of whom I suspect are actually cats, and not people.

    LilyS - it's one of those things ... you can't find a pencil, so you start doing the crossword in pen, but you KNOW what's going to happen ...

    InvisibleWoman - you can go on 'how to treat cushions' course at any local adult education centre, or I think there's even an AA group for this (Anti-Cushionolics Anonymous).

  22. Oy, I had had that same dream about the nurse's uniform and pink slippers. In my case pink bunny slippers. I just hope to god I would shave my legs first.

  23. Hi Fran, Annie sent me your way saying she thinks I would really like what you do! And you know, I think she is right! I think I'll start to look around this room and see what I can find....it's been a while.

  24. Cushions are for throwing at my husband when he is asleep on the other settee with the remote control in his hand and I want the channel changed pronto. Leather and sequinned ones aimed at the head or groin get the fastest response. He understands them very well.
    Anna May x

  25. Funny-I was just looking around our family room this morning, thinking "This looks like the place where throws and blankies go to die."

  26. Hi Fran, you're one of my birthday blog winners! Congratulations. Please email me your address so that I can send your prize (when I've bought them!) 4pmteatime at gmail dot com.

  27. Brahm - Yeah, and hopefully the shave would have gone ok, because it would be even worse to arrive in pink bunny slippers and legs with tiny bits of toilet tissue stuck to all the cuts.

    Jim - thanks for following and for your comment. Good to meet you. Good luck with the room examination.

    Anna May - I'm surprised they're not studded with nails, you meano, you.

    I'm Crayon - thanks for visiting. I came over to your blog and just want TO SAY TO EVERYONE, I'M CRAYON IS A VERY, VERY FUNNY LADY. GO AND SEE. OR, IF YOU'RE IN THE STATES, GO SEE.

    Jenny Beattie - yay! Have emailed you. Please have birthdays more often.

  28. I never realised that was the problem with cushions but you are dead right. I have given up putting a cushion on the chair Ian uses. He just throws it away onto the sofa anyway. Bit like pillows. I sleep on mine. He throws his on the floor.


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