t4w Writing Competition Winner

Thank you to everyone who entered the t4w Writing Competition!

Mangle and Wringer productst4w teamed up with Mangle and Wringer to launch our latest writing competition. The challenge was to write 500 words on your guilty domestic secrets, and you had to include the words “Domestic” and “Goddess”. We challenged you to make us laugh, cry or wince. Here’s the winning entry written by Lynne McVernon who will be receiving a selection of Mangle and Wringer’s wonderful cleaning products. Well done to Lynne and we hope that Mangle and Wringer inspires you and transforms your home!

I have few household secrets. Everyone is familiar with my four second rule for anything that falls on the floor e.g. slice of toast, salmon steak and, memorably, a rice pudding. Similarly, no-one has failed to notice my ingrained apathy for dusting. One offspring cheekily wrote the date in the dust on the hall table and I responded by updating it a week later. My skirting boards and stair corners snuggle cosily under dog hair and fluff, light bowls are a last resting place for many species of insect and the windows have an opaque effect that keeps the harsh outside world in soft focus.

Another foible that exercises the penchant for sarcasm of my nearest and dearest is my food hoarding fetish. We are not talking month old cheese in the fridge. That’s for amateurs. I have retained a leg of lamb from the decade before last (which came to light when the freezer broke down) and a dozen tins of prunes from before the days of ‘use by’ dates (unearthed when the cat decided to give birth in the corner cupboard).

Circumstances in my defence:

A:  I am not a ‘stay at home Mum’ but a full-time Geography lecturer, which entails long working hours and regular field trips(1)

B: While, on the grounds of privacy, every member of the family except myself has vetoed the idea of a cleaner, none is prepared to take up the slack.

Being a relaxed sort of individual, I do not rise to maternal wrath and insist on their help, reasoning that if they find that their situation becomes unacceptable they will do something about it themselves.

mopI haven’t quite aspired to Quentin Crisp’s cleaning theory that “…after the third year the dirt doesn’t get any worse…” for one good reason: visitors. The word brings on palpitations. I initiate a rout to drag the house up to the standard required of any self-respecting Impeccable Hostess / Domestic Goddess. Children are roped in with cash bribes, husband Alan wields the vacuum and mop in baleful silence while I scrub at the grouting in the shower with a toothbrush and haul sinister tails of gloop from plugholes.

Throughout their visit, as guests(2) marvel at our lovely home, I quake if anyone draws breath to make a potentially provocative remark. After the intruders depart, we all deflate with sighs of relief and sink back gracefully into squalor.

And that, believe it or not, is my home life(3).


  1. I lied about the field trips. I have a lover, George, and thus late night assignations and glorious escapes to Dubrovnik, Sorrento, Nice and the like.
  2. On two occasions, George and his dreary wife – who gets on very well with Alan. Wouldn’t that be convenient…?
  3. Not for long. George has been offered HOD at an Australian university and our flights are booked.

 Many Congratulations to Lynne! We loved your story! Many thanks to Mangle and Wringer for inspiring us and for providing our prize.

For the piece, Dirty Linen and Clean Sheets, that inspired the competition, click here.