Thursday, 30 May 2013

Dirty Scrubbers

The thing that’s really pissing me off this week is old people’s hygiene and washing up standards in particular. Remember the debacle last autumn with Stannah Stair, my father-in-law, falling bonce-first down the dancers? You know...that trip to the fragrant Vale of Croydon, where I got dysentery in return for daughter-in-lawly concern? Well, Stannah is still alive and he has been allowed to resume washing up. It’s just not fucking funny.

I have always known that old people can’t wash up. My mother seems to store lumps of gravy in the crevices of pretty much every receptacle in the house. She’s probably got Bisto-chunks lurking in her vest drawer, like meaty dangleberries she can savour secretly when Countdown is on. There is always a new variety of cheese in the dimples of her milk jug and handy egg chunks, clinging to the tines of forks: snack-barnacles for the terminally dirty and desperate. Laughably, my mother complains that my sofa smells of piss, because we haven’t had it recovered since the kids were potty trained. But Jesus could have used the baked bean souvenirs on her plates to feed the five thousand. This is mainly because my mother buys her washing up liquid in a large 5L container from somewhere like Billy's Bargain Busters. She also has shocking eyesight.
Washing up liquid does not come from a yak's fangita, OK?

Now, it dawns on me that there’s a recurring theme here. My mother-in-law, also mature in years, also uses Poundlessland yakpiss to wash up with. You have to use a cupful to get any froth at all. Worse still – and here’s the poke in the tiddies that gets me every time – she uses a brush. Who washes up with a brush? All she’s doing is scratching the dried on food a bit and then putting the plates and cups away. But the father-in-law really is the biggest offender. Reach for something to pour juice into for your child and you’re treated to a glass with week-old milk clinging to the inside, with lip gank plastered round the top and a nice greasy thumb print. Often there are bits of orange flesh from juice “with bits” welded to the foetid milk too. Tell me if I’m out line, but I don’t relish having my son wrap his childish chops around octogenarian gob-slobber in a bid to drink the strange orange cheese concoction. It just ain’t right. And are those glasses really just “discolouring with age”, or is it that they too are caked in two years’ worth of second hand mouth-ming and congealed red wine? Ooh, what a fucking surprise it was, when the discoloured, ageing glasses came up sparkling clean after a proper soak in hot water and scour with a genuine washy-up sponge! 
Use a brush and you might as well give your pots a wipe with your dentures....

And then, in my mind’s eye, I take a walk into the utility room and see the raw meat joint that has been left unrefrigerated on a sunny window sill for at least an entire day and night, ready for dinner time...right next to the lovely dairy based desert, happily fermenting in its anchovy egg barf-festooned dish. The 5/2 fasting diet has got nothing on this. Wanna shit your extra kilos off in a weekend? Go for lunch at an elderly relative’s house!
Don't leave old bloke mouth-ming on cups, thinking you can sneak in a snog by proxy with house guests this way.


  1. You should put a DO NOT READ THIS BEFORE DINNER warning on this post. I feel completely sick... But oh how I laughed. Marnie, you are outrageous. (In a good way.) x

    1. Glad it made you giggle, Wendy. I think everyone has a relative who knowingly makes you eat fossilized snack-strata in poorly washed crockery. Pay attention next time. You might discover some well preserved Vesta Curry from 1972. The other pensioner-based risk is bendy food. I know no other age group that puts the same food stuff on the table, unrefrigerated, day after day, until it's so bendy, the ryvita's grinning at you. Be wary!

  2. Well at least your octogenarians have not doubled upon the use of a single plastic bowl for plate washing and commode use.....

  3. I wouldn't be surprised by anything, Jim, least of all the prospect of my elderly relatives peeing in a washing up bowl. For years, my mother pissed in a potty that she kept under the kitchen sink and dutifully disposed of said piss down the plughole. It was a kind of Mancunian council estate downstairs loo. Perhaps my more middle class in-laws use their washing up brush as an alternative toilet paper - scratchy like the Izal of the 1970's but infinitely reusable.