This week’s Sunday Telegraph column (a day late): bedding

SORRY this is late I have been on a tour of the north and yesterday spent several hours trying to find white floor tiles in B&Q which meant I had no energy left to type. Column below.


I am not sure if Sunday Telegraph readers will be familiar with a TV show called Love Island. A quick precis if not: it features about half a dozen identical men and half a dozen identical women thrown together in a large villa in Majorca, whereupon they all immediately have to ‘couple up’ and compete in their pairs for a £50,000 prize at the end of their six-week holiday. It’s sort of Blind Date meets Big Brother. But less intellectual.

Unfortunately, Love Island wasn’t on telly when I was a student because otherwise I would have written my dissertation on it. But there isn’t space for that here so instead I’m going to concentrate on the aspect of it that troubles me the most: the bedding situation.

The couples on this show have to share beds, even though they only met seconds before. And that’s alright. There are turbulent times. We could all do with being a bit friendlier towards fellow man and woman to be honest.

The problem I have is the way they treat their bedding, slithering into it with full-make up and eyelashes as thick as spiders’ legs, stepping on beds with dirty feet, climbing under the covers with a heavy sigh, fully clothed, when one of them has been ‘pied off’ by another one. (Being ‘pied off’ has nothing to do with pie. It means you’ve been snubbed. Use it on one of your teenage children for a laugh). In a recent episode, a chap called Kem woke another gentleman called Chris by smothering his face in shaving foam and, I’m sorry to tell you, the foam went all over the duvet cover.

Not that the bedding situation is much better elsewhere on telly. In the first episode of Riviera, a new Sky series about the South of France, our heroine woke up in a bed made with dark grey, satiny sheets and she was wearing a silk nightie. How she slept at all is a mystery. I would have been sliding about all night like a lone pea on a dinner plate.

So, bedding has been worrying me of late. And it’s important. We have strict rules about bedding. Chiefly that it is white and only white. White pillow cases, white duvet covers, white sheets. At boarding school, I was obsessed for a time with my Care Bears duvet cover. But, looking back, I’m not sure that sleeping in a riot of pink and purple with small, fat bears larking all over me was very restful. Plain white is the answer. And cotton. I’m not one of those bores who bangs on about thread count or worries about what sort of feathers I have in my duvet (please, I’ve got better things to be doing, like watching Love Island), but sleeping in crisp cotton is less sweaty than any sort of blend.

This white cotton should ideally be changed every week. Seriously. Clean sheets etc every week. It doesn’t have to be ironed (my mother would disagree), because I presume you’re not wearing your duvet cover to a Buckingham Palace garden party. Just clean. Every week. And I’m not even going to go into the duvet versus blanket debate because whoever had a decent night’s kip while immobilised in bed by a scratchy, woolly straitjacket?

Finally, eating in bed. Troubling. Very troubling indeed. A cup of tea is one thing. A piece of toast is quite another. I genuinely don’t understand why people deem breakfast in bed a treat. Is this something that becomes appealing only once you have children and the thought of staggering from bed to the kitchen to eat is too much to bear? Perhaps. But until then I remain resolute. No person in history has ever eaten a piece of toast without shedding a few crumbs. And crumbs in the sheets are almost as bad as shedding your fake eyelashes all over them.