Adventures In The Airing Cupboard


Last night I was driven to hide in the airing cupboard by certain people who shall not be named (but you know who you are, don’t you?). They all scared me silly – niceness is disconcerting at the best of times but when it’s forced on a hermit willy-nilly from all directions, well, it was either the airing cupboard or total collapse and a trip to Ward 13. BUT – (and don’t all you Perpetrators of Niceness misinterpret what I’m going to say next as forgiveness or anything) – my time in the airing cupboard turned out to be one of the best times of my life and one of the worst. I’ve only just come out (well, not exactly this minute – I went for a wee and a wash and a Cumberland sausage sandwich or four before I switched on my laptop).

It started off like it usually does. I gathered what I needed (pills, brick, water, blanket, some Cumberland sausages, and a couple of little drams of Laudanum to help me sleep) and went in. My airing cupboard is larger than the average airing cupboard, in fact it used to be one of my spare bedrooms but after my children left home I stored all my new towels, sheets, duvet sets, etc in there (I like to collect nice towels and bedding) so you could say the room decided for itself that it needed a change (and why shouldn’t it?). It’s bigger than a normal airing cupboard but it isn’t Narnia so I can only fit so much in there, and the space I have to make my little bed in IS little, probably a lot smaller than the space in an Uncollector’s airing cupboard. I made my little bed on the bit of floor left in the middle of the stacks. Cosy and warm. I began the shaping of my new brick and spent about an hour or two on that (handy that I was in the airing cupboard, my towels were right there ready to mop up the blood – actually, wait a minute, I just need to check I didn’t use my white ones).

Okay, they were blue.

When I’d finished with my brick I felt round for my torch but it wasn’t there. I know NOW that I forgot it, but I didn’t know it then and all sorts of things started going through my head, terrible things, horrible things about monsters and demons hiding in the stacks, about giant woodlice and moths crawling out to get me, about the airing cupboard being Narnia after all and Queen Jadis had nicked my torch and was going to come back and turn me into a giant snowball. At that I panicked, full blown panic. I thrashed my arms about a bit. And my legs. I think it was my right big toe that clipped the stack of eiderdowns and started the TOPPLE (I’ve put that in big and bold because it was a BIG MEGA TOPPLE). Everything came down on me, all of it, even the stacks that were wedged to the ceiling, I was underneath the whole lot. I panicked some more. I was stuck, I couldn’t get out. I got ready to die and I just knew that when I was found I would be nothing but a dried husk of a Dotty and everything in the airing cupboard would have soaked up all my bodily fluids and CSI Yorkshire would have some nice new towels and posh duvet sets after they’d extracted me out of them and they’d given them a good wash (I hoped they’d use Persil Non-Bio because I’m allergic to other washing powders). I wondered who’d come for me at the FINAL SECOND, Death, or one of his minions, Death’s mini-me, – and if Death really IS a Hoodie I’d be even more afraid than I already was because if he was anything like the Hoodies in my area he wouldn’t just carry a sickle he’d have a five inch shank and a semi-automatic and he’d call me nasty names and say ‘innit’ a lot and then he’d mug me for my phone before he took me away to Deathland (but my phone was in the drawer where I’d put it so phew! he wouldn’t get that). As all this was going through my head I started to  feel dizzy and see stars and I knew it was TIME, the life was seeping out of me, goodbye World you were a shitty place but you had some nice scenery, I’d really miss the sun coming up over Ilkley Moor at dawn on a clear winter’s morn.

Darkness fell and I don’t know what happened then because I was dead (well, obviously I wasn’t DEAD dead, but you know what I mean, I thought I was). I woke up and it was still dark so naturally I assumed I’d been transported out of the airing cupboard to Hell (in case you’re wondering, it wasn’t red, or hot, and there were no flames or screaming wraiths). My head hurt like fuck. I wondered if I’d been right all along and Death HAD mugged me for my phone and while he was at it had given me a bash round the head with his rock-hard boney fist. I put my hand out in front of me to see if it was still there. I wiggled my fingers. I couldn’t see them but what I did see, what slowly took shape right there in front of me, was the most wondrous, heart-lifting thing ever, the best thing I could ever, ever, ever have seen, and if I live until my dying day I shall never forget the sight of my Granny Euphemia standing where my left thumb should have been, her hair still curly and white, her lovely toothless face still crumpled like a squished-up peach, her favourite torn slippers still flapping at the front, her woolly brown dress, her pink cardigan, and her kitchen apron with a big picture of Michelangelo’s David on it. I couldn’t believe it, I thought I was hallucinating that I’d been taken to Heaven not Hell because my Granny Euphemia was the loveliest, kindest, goodest person that ever lived and died and there was no way she would have ended up in Hell. Euphemia Agnes Headbanger nee de la O’McDuff, – our ancestors were French Calvinists, Irish potato faminists, and Scottish barbarians (ginger Picts) –  married to my Granda, Angus McHeadbanger – (dear dead Daddy dropped the Mc when he moved to England but I’ll tell you about that another time when I can think of him without keening).

‘Is that you, Dotty, hen?’ Granny Euphemia said.

Tears were pouring down my face and I was so choked with happiness I could hardly speak. But I did. ‘Yes, Granny Euphemia. It’s me,’ I said.

‘My, my, you’ve got awfy fat, lassie. Whit have you been eating?’

‘Cumberland sausages. They’re my favourite.’

‘Sausages? Do you ken whit they put in them?’

‘They’re no worse than haggis, Granny.’

‘Am I fat, hen? Am I? Tell me now, is there one spare inch of flesh on me? I’ve been eating haggis for nigh on eighty years and I’ve still got the figure that caught your Grandfaither.’

‘But you’ve been dead for twenty years, you’re bound to lose weight.’

‘Have I? Deid, am I? Ach, well, it comes tae us all in the end. Come here and gie me a cuddle, hen.’

I still couldn’t move. I tried to but one arm and both my legs were trapped. ‘I can’t, I’m stuck. Will you help me, please, Granny Euphemia?’

‘No. If you werenae so fat you’d have sprung up out of there in no time. You need tae stop eating yon sausages.’

‘For fuck’s sake, Granny Euphemia, just shift that bag of towels and I’ll be able to move my foot to kick my way out.’

‘No I will not. Ach, whit happened tae you, Dotty, hen? You were such a nice wee lassie. I should’ve gone tae see wee Lottie instead, she widnae speak tae her Granny like that.’

Typical fucking Lottie, I can’t even have a reunion with my long-dead Granny without her butting in on it. ‘I’m sorry for swearing. Please help me up, Granny Euphemia.’

She peered at me lying there, stuck. It seemed like ages before she spoke again. ‘I’ll help you up if you dae something for me,’ she said. ‘Promise me you’ll change your ways. Swearing and eating sausages, they have tae stop. And have you seen the state of your hoose, you dirty wee pig? It’s bogging. Clean it and keep cleaning it every day. I cannae believe you’ve let it get tae that. Where dae you keep your scrubbing brush and carbolic?’

‘Under the sink.’

‘Right, I’m away tae make a start then.’

And poof, she went, disappeared, gone. I lay there thinking about what she’d said. She was right, I had to make some changes, I do swear too much and the house could do with a bit of a tidy. Cutting out Cumberland sausages though – I’d have to see about that one, I’d give it a try, for Granny Euphemia. I hadn’t promised her I’d give them up though, she didn’t give me chance to before she fucked off to find the scrubbing brush and soap, so I thought that if I can’t manage without them at least I’m not going back on my word to her.


I got out of the airing cupboard at 3.03pm this afternoon. I don’t know how, it’s all a bit of a haze after Granny Euphemia disappeared, but if I remember rightly my lovely Ian Somerhalder came and lifted everything off me and stacked it all up neatly again. As I’ve already said, I had a wash and a wee and a pile of Cumberland sausage sandwiches as soon as I came out. And I’m going to have some MORE Cumberland sausage sandwiches now for my tea because you know what, Granny Euphemia is nowhere to be seen, she didn’t TOUCH the scrubbing brush or the soap and everything in the house is just as I left it last night. So, Granny Euphemia, even though seeing you made me the happiest Dotty in the world, you can go and sit and swivel on the scrubbing brush you old slacker, I bet you didn’t even look for it, I bet you just pissed off down the pub to get sozzled, didn’t you, so if it’s all right for you to say one thing and do another it’s all right for me too. I WILL stop swearing like I said I would, and I’ll clean my house BY MYSELF (seeing as you haven’t done ANYTHING at all) but as for giving up my Cumberland sausages, Hell will freeze over before that happens.

Right, I’m off to make my tea before it gets any later. I’m starving.


Leave a comment


  1. Dear Dotty,
    I would write “Good Morning,” but I don’t know if it is morning there, so I will stick with “Dear” since it’s my first greeting. While your airing cupboard might not be Narnia, that you thought of Narnia in association with it helped me clear something up in my head about closets and my need to sit in them even though I’m scared of dark places. Because on one hand there’s Jadis, but on the other hand there might be Fledge.

    • Dear Owl,
      No, it’s evening here, but good morning to you (if it’s morning there). Good idea of yours about Fledge – I might get my Shopping Person to bring me some strawberries and sugar cubes next week so I can take them into my airing cupboard with me and see if I can summon him to take me to see Aslan who might make me forget everything too.
      Love Dotty xxx

  2. Hi, Dotty. I hope I wasn’t too nice yesterday. I certainly tried to avoid being nice, and I shall from now on, as well. The airing-cupboard is a term with which I’m not familiar, but I get the idea, and I think it’s a good thing to have. I may try to find one in this tiny apartment. Anyway, as before, you tell your story with terrific imagery, and I could feel myself sitting there. Stop swearing if you choose to — just go very easy on yourself if you backslide a little. And if you still have clothes you can wear, you might want to forget giving up sausages altogether. That’s a far healthier habit than so I’ve heard of, or had. Don’t have a nice day — have a day. And thank you 😎

    • Dear Judith,
      Well, you WERE a bit too nice but seeing as you’re trying hard not to be, I’ll forgive you (this time). I do have clothes to wear – what I do is I unpick one side of a dress right the way up the side, do the same with another, sew them together and voila, a new dress that’s sometimes a bit too big for me but I soon grow into them.
      You have a day too. (smiley face goes here, but it doesn’t because I don’t know how to do them).
      Love Dotty xxx

  3. Dear Dotty,
    1,889 cumberland sausages is quite a lot for one day. Perhaps Granny McHeadbanger’s appearance really was a warning, not that I think you’re fat. Everyone is beautiful in their own way (apart from Aphrodite of course).
    Be well, Dotty, stay strong!

    • Dear Persephone,
      I’m going for the Guiness Book of Records record for how many Cumberland sausages can be eaten in one day. I think the present total stands at 9876455,8763537389494,8473283272389435,23468957314732398473892753295732. It’s held by a big man called George who lives in Cumberland, but I heard a rumour that he’s going to have his record taken away from him because he’s been stealing Cumberland sausages from the butcher who makes them.
      Love Dotty xxx

  4. P.A.Z.

     /  February 4, 2012

    I wasn’t familiar with the airing cupboard either, but I’m glad you made it out alive! But now I have all sorts of questions. Is Lottie your evil twin sis? 😉 Look forward to reading the story of your pop’s move to England.

    p.s. You really are a strange, mad one Dottie. Hope you take it as a compliment 🙂

    • Dear PAZ,
      Hello again. Yes, Lottie is my sister but she isn’t my evil twin, she’s just evil. And I DO take it as a compliment, a very welcome one at that. Thank you.
      Love Dotty xxx
      P.S. Can I ask YOU a question? If Americans don’t know what an airing cupboard is, where do you keep all your towels? Or don’t you use towels? (but if you don’t use towels, what DO you use? Hmmm. Toughie.)

      • P.A.Z.

         /  February 5, 2012

        Dotty, I have failed at my own goal of not getting back on here today. 😦 But that just means I get to answer your question. So… ummm… I don’t know. You have to remember, I’m not exactly “American”. I’m a Latin American who’s lived in the U.S. most her life, thus becoming Americanized. 🙂 I do keep the towels in the bathroom closet or my mom just puts them in her bedroom closet.

        Ok I’m out now for real this time–going to see if I can actually focus on these online training thing for web design.
        later xo

      • Dear PAZ,
        That’s it – you call them bathroom closets, we call them airing cupboards. And I’m glad Americans have towels, it wouldn’t be nice for them if they had to use leaves or their own clothes or something.
        Love Dotty xxx
        P.S. Good luck with your web design thingy.

  5. P.A.Z.

     /  February 4, 2012

    Oh and sorry about not replying way back when you made me spittle my coffee. I was going to reply but then life happened and my avoidance to complete things kicked in hardcore. Then I had to move back home. It was indeed hot though, but no worries, I didn’t get burned and neither did my laptop. And I’ve been taking it very easy on the coffee. I’m only allowing myself one teacup size fill every other day, which I’ve been keeping up, mostly.

    • Dear PAZ,
      No problemo, mon amigo. Je suis beaucoup happy tu est back. (While you’ve been gone I’ve been learning Italian – I’m a natural).
      Love Dotty xxx
      P. S. Drink more coffee. It’s good for you.

  6. ginger picts??? I almost crapped my drawers on that one. (Tip of the hat to Mr. Crapper)
    potato faminists? If you re just going to make up your own language as you go, then give us some warning.
    And I thought you had a panic room full of just-for-show cleaning products, so why the airing cupboard? And just what the hell is an airing cupboard, anyway?

  7. Linen closet. it’s a linen closet. And they usually have those little flimsy doors with the slidy-slatty-venty things in them all up and down, so you can see through when you’re locked…I mean, so air can get in. *nodnod*

    And I promise I’m not really just writing all this to make your head explode when you get on and check your comments and see my brilli…rambling. Although if it does happen, please have pics taken (pics, mind, not picts) and send them to me care of…being careful!

    What was I…oh, yeah! I just think you’re possibly the only truly sane person i’ve met around here, and I can’t help but run my mouth/fingers off talking to you just in case you decide to take pity on the idjit and do the same. And then me, and then you, and then me…and me…and me…and…why won’t you answer me? What’d I ever do to you? Grrrr, you big meanie pants you!

    Love and sausages,
    KC & Co.

    • Dear KC,
      I’m answering you now – there is a room and in the room there is a bed and I was in it and now I’m not.
      My head hasn’t exploded yet and if it ever does I won’t take pictures because I don’t believe in cameras, they’re the tools of Beelzebub.
      Are you giving me Cumberland sausages or just any old sausage (which would be a GRAVE INSULT and a GRAVE MISTAKE)?
      Love Dotty xxx

      • As if I’d give you anything else! The very idea! (Umm, but you might just have to be a love and send someone on that side for them, as I’m almost certain we don’t have them over here,and having them sent to have them sent back seems a bit…silly. Also, as per my award winning post…I mean award answers comment…I’m not entirely sure I know what they look like…so what if someone gave me plain old sausage and I didn’t know better? That’d be terrible! No, safer if you get them got yourself. K, thanx ) And the above? Was more in the way of a prediction of future events than a complaint that you weren’t, at that moment, talking to me. 😉 Even -I- know that y’all have weird time over there. it goes all slow or something…think it’s to do with the rain washing out some big clock or other? *shrugs*


      • Dear KC,
        So you’re giving me NOTHING?
        Love Dotty xxx

  8. Not just -any- nothing! Nothing with -intent-!! That’s much better than just regular old nothing. You can get -that- anywhere. They give it away for free!

    KC & Co.

  9. airing cupboards………..don’t mention bins in a post will you! or get stuck in one


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