‘I’m doing the most grown-up thing you could imagine,’ I tell my friend as she picks up the phone. There is a worried pause. ‘What is it?’ she asks slowly. ‘I’m picking up my dry-cleaning,’ I tell her smugly.

‘I’m walking down the road with those lovely plastic covering things slung casually over my arm, chatting to you on my phone. People probably think I’m a celebrity.’  I nod kindly to a gentleman as I pass him on the pavement. ‘I’m very bad at dry-cleaning,’ my friend tells me apologetically. ‘I leave it for ages in a pile and never get round to taking it to the dry-cleaners.’Aha!’ I say, delighted. ‘And then, because you’re got loads of things, they give you with a massive bill.’

‘Indeed,’ my friend says sadly. ‘I’m terribly good at dry-cleaning,’ I inform her. ‘I feel like it’s really something I’ve gotten a handle on, vis-à-vis this whole being a grown up thing.’ There is an inarticulate yelp from the other end of the phone. ‘Oh,’ I say quickly. ‘I wouldn’t let it worry you. There’s plenty of things I’m still getting to grips with.’ ‘No, no,’ my friend replies. ‘I’m doing some normal laundry, as it happens, and I’ve managed to skip past one of the stages of the cycle. Did you even know that was possible?’

‘Oh of course,’ I told my friend helpfully. ‘It is possible to do almost anything with a washing machine. Jam it so it won’t give you your clothes back, let it run with no washing powder in, stop it before it’s drained, skip the spin cycle so your clothes are still dripping…’ There is another pause. ‘Well,’ I say finally. ‘I suppose you can see why I’m so keen on dry-cleaning.’

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