I pushed open the kitchen door and almost stepped directly onto two teenage girls. They were sitting on the floor next to the cooker, sorting through dusters and tea towels. “New cleaners” I surmised. My cheery “Hello!” met with no response. “New foreign cleaners who don’t speak English” I concluded. When I passed through to the sitting room, out of the corner of my eye I saw one sketch out an exaggerated female form in the air, then I heard her say in a robotic voice “Lovely curvy body”. They did have a limited vocabulary after all.
I stepped into the darkness of the bedroom, intending to open the curtains and shutters. Before I reached the window something with soft, fabric limbs threw me against the large wardrobe and started to attack me. I tried to fight back, biting into what felt like stuffed cotton. My assailant was a four foot rag doll robot cleaner! Attempts at screaming TPR’s name in panic were hopeless: no sound came out. Thankfully I eventually escaped from my captor and ran into the study to TPR, who was sitting at the computer. He was unmoved by my plight. Indeed his primary concern was not me, but whether or not I had caused any harm to the rag doll. He was worried that any marks on her body could be used as evidence that I was the instigator of the fight, and then we’d be without a cleaner (again).
Back in the kitchen I found on the table a loaf of home-made white bread fashioned into the shape of a fat foot, complete with toes. “I made that!” my sister J proudly boasted.