For no good reason I left all the worst bits till last.... tiny limbs of fairy tale and nursery rhyme characters. These are especially tricky partly because of their small size, but also because some of the characters are holding things in their hands, which makes the soft-cleaning process rather more hazardous. For example, one of the musical mousies holds a bugle. Another grasps a pair of maracas.
However, they pale into insignificance compared to Humpy Dumpty whose spindly little legs I mentioned before, and which have an unfortunate propensity to ping off just as I'm so carefully cleaning the last nano-millimetre.
He's a right pain in the hoohah, is Humpty Dumpty.
Not only do his legs fall off at the drop of a hat, but during the initial casting stage, his egg-shaped body tends to retain liquid slip, which blocks the stringing holes. In addition, he has spindly little arms , which are also a nightmare to soft-clean, as either the top of the arm, just above the stringing hole will snap off, or his hand will break at the wrist.
I can completely empathise with the frustration which must have been felt by all the king's horses and all the king's men. Although quite how the horses were expected to help with the re-assembly escapes me. Quite honestly, I'd have pushed him off the wall myself, just for the satisfaction of seeing him shatter into a zillion pieces, knowing full well that putting him back together again was an impossible task. This is borne out by the fact that at the end of my mammoth soft-cleaning marathon, I now have a small box full of assorted broken Humpty bits.... feet legs and arms, plus one body which cracked while soaking in the water.
As a result, I am suffering from barely suppressed Humpty Dumpty rage. He makes me sooooooo MAD! Sometimes I could quite easily punch him in his smug, superior, supercilious, smirking face.......
* Note to self..... in future, do not attempt to complete a week's worth of soft-cleaning in just three days. Think of your sanity......*