Knickers! A bad housewife's humiliation.

A few years ago our humble home was used as a location for a comedy television series Bellamy's People, based on the Radio 4 show Down the Line, starring Paul Whitehouse.

We were all very excited but as I cast a glance around my house I suddenly saw it through a stranger's eyes - and imagined it through a camera lens. Some serious tidying up was called for.

DVD cover
I worked like a dog. I am not a natural housewife. As I have mentioned before I am very easily distracted from any domestic chores by the promise of a cuppa and a slice of cake. Or a trip to the local charity shops. Or in fact anything which doesn't involve me tidying. I don't mind actual cleaning - nothing is more satisfying to me than fresh vacuum tracks in the carpet or a dent-free sofa but with so many people living in a relatively small house the fact is we have a lot of STUFF!

Laundry that needs doing, is being done, or has just been done and needs to be put away. (notice I don't mention ironing....)
Clothes that someone has grown out of but someone hasn't yet grown into, bags of hats, gloves and scarves, piles of precious paintings, and homemade cards and cute notes.You get the picture.

So on the day of filming (we were due to be descended on during the late afternoon/evening) my tidying and cleaning got more and more frantic.

They had mentioned using the garden so I had to throw in some mowing and weeding too! (turned out they only wanted it to store their equipment in so I needn't have bothered)

As I heard the procession of location vans pull up outside I panicked and started stuffing things like used damp cleaning cloths and things I hadn't found a home for into any available hiding space.
I greeted them with a relaxed wave and a nonchalant smile like I hadn't been behaving like the proverbial blue arsed flie only seconds before!

The entire family was evicted onto the front garden as the crew filled our home with cables, lights, cameras and people with clipboards.
A small monitor appeared outside and we were told we could watch the action inside on it. Great!
DS #3 using the new, clean oven!
My first moment of numbing humiliation came when the production lady came and breezily informed me that the first scene involved the characters cooking. Which on the monitor tuened out to be the characters repeatedly openeing and shutting my oven door. Which had been stuffed with trays. And not cleaned.

How was I supposed to know they were actually going to use the darn thing? I could imagine the actors looking at the dried out burned oven chips jammed in the hinges, glued on mozzarella globules crusted on the bottom dripped from pizzas long eaten and smeary oily marks decorating the glass door. The grubbiness of my neglected and overused oven seemed to leap out in high definition on the tiny monitor. I could only guess how dreadful it would look like on a 50 inch plasma TV.

But worse was to come. The same cheery lady who had told me they were using my oven emerged from a props truck carrying a laundry basket. Passing us she told us a little bit about the next scene they were shooting. Apparently the actor was going to unload the contents of the washing machine into the tumble dryer whilst talking to the other actors- and they were going to use the "laundry" they had found unsuccessfully hidden in it.

The laundry they had found was a mix of actual laundry and the frankly disgusting cleaning cloths I had shoved in at the last minute figuring I would sort it all out when they had gone.
And unfortunately the last load of washing I had done was not silk french knickers, wispy lace thongs or satin be-ribboned briefs. Because I am a 40-cough mother of 7 so my underwear is sturdy, cotton and mostly washed out to grey. And often is quite hole-y. And not in a religious way.

So through the medium of the little monitor which everyone outside was crowded round I watched in dismay as my not-so-smalls were loaded in and out, in and out of the washing machine. Take one. Take two, take three... my undies were manhandled more than they have been in a while and by a strange man at that.

English: White french knickers with lace
Not my knickers!
White french knickers with lace.
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I could hardly bear to watch when the series hit our screens. Week after week we watched each episode waiting for our moment of fame.
And when the last one aired, and we realised the scenes filmed in our kitchen had been cut I should have been disappointed. But I was just relieved that the nation was spared the sight of my saggy pants - looking for all the world  like tired grubby festival tents after a long weekend, or tattered sails after a sea storm-  polluting their evening's entertainment!

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