Mrs Beeton for those of you who don't know her is my mother in law. She is, how shall I put it, somewhat set in her ways and a little remote from reality. No she isn't suffering from dementia or anything like that, she has always been this way. Now as she approaches her eighty ninth birthday her little idiosyncracies are becoming ever more demanding.
To Mrs Beeton her phone is much the same as oxygen, she cannot live without it. This results in numerous phone calls throughout the day most of them with the same content. She has set conversations for different people. Much the same as her set duties for each of us. His Lordship deals with financial matters and anything involving tradesmen. I on the other hand am designated shopping assistant, prescription courier, and girdle purchaser.
Now fortunately for me I approached womanhood at a time when far from hooking, zipping and tying themselves into undergarments, women were burning them. My knowledge of such garments of torture has been vicariously gained through my girdle tracking expeditions with Mrs Beeton. By their nature they are somewhat elusive creatures and are rather secretive. Add to this their declining numbers, they are I believe on the endangered species list, and it is becoming ever more difficult to find them.
So when Mrs Beeton informed me that she needed a new girdle I began the hunt for an outlet. After much interwebby searching and some interesting encounters with girdle fetish sites I tracked down a shop in a town not too far away.
A few days later with Mrs Beeton in tow we headed to the girdle emporium. It looked a friendly sort of place with net curtains discretely shielding the contents and customers from the eyes of the outside world. On entering the shop we were greeted by two ladies attired in matching twinsets and decor laden with chintz and lace. Mrs Beeton was immediately shown to a waiting chair. It was clear that they were not merely purveyers of girdles but also brassiers, corsetry and huge knickers. Whalebone and gussets were respectable fayre for conversation in this establishment.
Feeling that Mrs Beeton was in safe hands I took the opportunity to slip out of the shop and wander through the market place. A short while later I returned to find Mrs Beeton still sitting where I had left her surrounded by an array of girdles. I noted that both of the previously serene ladies now had something of a flush about their faces.
"How are we doing?" I enquired
"Oh I think we just about have it," replied lilac twinset
"Do they come with suspenders?" interjected Mrs Beeton
I looked at her quizically, "you don't wear stockings."
"I like to have suspenders as back up." she replied
"We can provide suspenders dear." the pink twinset said soothingly
A few suspenders later and Mrs Beeton was the proud owner of two new girdles.
Now at this point I should mention that Mrs Beeton is of somewhat diminutive stature, she is barely four feet eleven inches high and weighs seven stone dripping wet. You would therefore not be forgiven for wondering why she feels the need for the confines of a girdle. Well I have mused on that subject myself on occasion, but I have to say my imagination has discretely confined itself to the fact that as a somewhat obsessive character ruled by routine she has always worn them and always will. Apparantly this is not so!
The following week I was sorting Mrs Beeton's laundry, yes this is another of my duties, and came upon one of the newly acquired girdles. To my horror I discovered that it had been slashed along the bottom edges. My mind raced with all manner of explanations, had she had a hot date with Freddy Krueger? Had she not really been a proud owner and slashed them with her butter knife? This defacing of the girdle made no sense. I took it to Mrs Beeton.
"What on earth happened to this?" I enquired holding up the offended girdle
"Oh I had to make some modifications," she replied somewhat embarrassed
"I don't like anything tight around my tummy,"
"It's a girdle! Isn't that the idea," I replied somewhat surprised
"Oh no, I use it to keep my tights up, they keep falling down,"
I looked at her legs and sure enough her tights were rolling around her ankles in such a fashion that Nora Batty would have eaten her heart out. "What size tights are you buying?" I asked
"Large, I've always bought large," she replied indignantly
I have now added another duty to my list, tights monitor. She now has several new pairs of warm lyle tights in a small size and the lovely new girdles have been consigned to the dustbin. Alas the great girdle hunting expeditions have now come to an end and it would appear that Mrs Beeton's tights will now be contributing to the further demise of the girdle emporiums.
4 hours ago