The Hands of a Scrubber



That is not the hide of a pink elephant or a peeled rhino.  That is my hand.  Dry, cracked and ugly like the desert in dry season.

Here’s a curious thing about the Scots: for hardy folk, we don’t half have wussy skin.  We are such a ferocious people that we chased the Romans back over Hadrian’s Wall, halting the expansion of their empire just be virtue of being really rage-filled and feisty.  Young women go for nights out on the town in the dead of Winter wearing nothing but a pelmet and a boob tube as if impenetrable to the cold.  Tough as boots we may be but our skin is more silk than leather.  Thanks to the soft water we have in Scotland, beautiful, clean, soft water, we are blessed with piglet soft skin.

So my skin, therefore, is not adjusting well to living in an area of harder water than it is used to.  Perhaps it is not just the natural sediments in the water but is also because of chemicals added to the water.  Whatever the cause, my skin is not coping with the water here.  My hands are rough and scratchy and cracked and sore.  They look like old woman hands.  They are hands a witch would be proud of.  My only consolation is that they are not quite as bad as Madonna’s old woman hands.  Yet.  Remember the Fairy Liquid advert with the jingle “Hands that do dishes can feel soft as your face …”?  Well my face is currently the texture of an alligator’s knee.

Not coincidentally, our dishwasher is not working.  Dishwashers are the Pandora’s Box of appliances: once you have one you can’t go back.  For most of my life I have lived without one and hand washed dishes without complaint but since having a dishwasher any time I have had to go without using one it has felt like Cinderella torture.  So I have been washing everything by hand which, of course, just makes my skin get worse.  Consequently they are now more cracked and gnarly than ever before.  Limescale is aggravating the dishwasher and my skin.  I am using almost industrial levels of moisturiser but that doesn’t help when my hands are constantly submerged in water.  Why yes I am bitter about the dishwasher being bust.

If this continues much longer, I will have no choice but to conceal my skin with woad.

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