Washing Wilfred

If you’re a long-term reader of this blog, you might remember Eoin’s beloved and much-snuggled elephant, Wilfred, of head-injury fame. Wilfred is a constant companion during dinners, nap times, bedtimes and gardening expeditions. He comes on rides in the car, and, on very special occasions, is allowed out and about into Cardiff. Not too often, though: new Wilfreds are not to be had for love nor money, even with the strongest eBay-fu, and I’m always worried that, given too much of a taste of freedom, he might go rogue and escape. That, as I’m sure you can imagine, would be Bad.

The inevitable consequence of having only one Wilfred available for snuggling is that it’s rather tricky to sneak him into the washing machine for a spruce up. In fact, so far, it has proven impossible. Eoin’s cuddly labrador, Breagha, was forcibly washed after the unfortunate incident during the nappy change (the less said about that the better), and he could be prevailed upon to understand that his owl puppet would have to go for a soak being enthusiastically but misguidedly dunked in a bowl of soup (cuddly owls aren’t very good at eating soup, it turns out). So far, though, I haven’t been able to convince him that, after over two years of snuggling, gumming and sucking, Wilfred was, to put it mildly, getting ripe.

Yesterday, though, we reached a crisis: Wilfred fell head first into a muddy puddle, and was subsequently run over by a toy wheelbarrow. Surveying the resulting damage, even Eoin could see that something would have to give. I brushed the worst of the mud off, and explained to that, tomorrow, while Eoin was out at playgroup, I would give Wilfred a lovely bath, and, by the time he came home, his elephant would be clean again. Eoin looked very teary about this. I assured him that it was necessary, and that Wilfred wouldn’t be hurt. Then, the real reason for the upset came out:

“Please don’t wash Wilfred in the dirty old washing machine with the dirty old clothes! Please, mummy, wash him in the sink! In the sink!”

True to my word, this morning I gave Wilfred a wash. In the sink:

Wilfred in the sinkAfter a restorative bathe in some Eucalan, with a smidgen of Vanish to treat the worst stains on his ears, Wilfred was carefully rinsed in cool water, loving patted dry with a fluffy towel, and then hung out by his ears in the approved, undignified manner common to newly-washed elephants the world over.

Wilfred on the lineI hope Eoin doesn’t mind that he now smells clean: it’ll be a big change, after all.


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