I think this is the only usable blanket we possess, but who needs a blanket today? We have central heating, warm clothes to wear, and the bedding operations have been simplified over the years. The duvet has taken over on the bed. A fitted sheet cuddling the matress with elastic edges, and a nice thick eiderdown, now known as duvet, with a cover that you can change, everything nicely hygenic.
Memories of my childhood days return when I think of a blanket. Every bed had its blanket, it was the way things were done in the olden days. Making beds were a major operation, especially if you were fussy about how your bed was made and mum and dad were very fussy. First of all there was the bottom sheet, and then the top sheet. The next layer was the blanket. I really do not know where mum got her blankets. They seemed to be family heirlooms handed down over generations and some were showing signs of becoming threadbare. However, this was no problem, as mum and dad seemed to have a stash of blankets, in all colours and qualities. I think the quality was not so important, important was the fact that they did not cost so much.
Blankets were put on the bed to make sure you were warm, and so I had at least two blankets. When everything was piled on the bed it was tucked in on all sides. To top the creation you had an eiderdown. I doubt if the feathers came from an eider duck, probably an assortment of bird life throughout England, mainly perhaps mallard duck, or even pigeon – who knows. These eiderdowns had a permanent fixed colourful colour cover and were not washable. The only part of the old style bedding that was washable were the sheets, everything else remained clean I suppose. We never really thought of things like that in the past.
However, the duvet eventually arrived from our scandinavian neighbours and everything was much easier and I suppose more hygenic. We even call it “northern sleeping” translated from the German language. Blankets have become extinct on our beds. Since I have been living in Switzerland I had the simple duvet solution to the bedding. My mum and dad would come on a visit now and again and seemed a bit lost with the duvet, but they managed.
When my dad moved into his extra care home, he had his own small appartment and I remember his bed always looking so perfect: everything neatly tucked in and he still had his blanket at the age of 100. Of course his carer was making his bed for him as he got older, but he told me she made it perfectly. He told me, even in his older years, that his bed must be made perfectly. No creases in the sheets, and of course a blanket. I asked him if a duvet would perhaps be easier. “Oh no” he said “it is not the same” and so it was. His bedroom was a perfect example of tidy and neat. We East End families may not have had the funds for everything expensive, but the bed had to be made perfectly.
But we have one blanket, you never know when a blanket might be useful.