What can YOU say in six sentences?
The idea of a winding sheet has always brought unfortunately humorous images to mind – something like a bandaged thumb, wrapped over and over in narrow white sheeting – except that for it to work, visually, with a thumb said sheet would have to be not much more than a quarter of an inch wide, so that sufficient herringbone overlaps could be made. Clearly impractical.
There’s a scene in Gone with the Wind, (I think - I sincerely hope, otherwise my mind is wallowing in an even more shot-to-hell soup than even I believed) where they are tearing up sheets in the broiling sun, which, in conjunction with the idea of winding conjures even more distressing (at least for the recently-bereaved whose ‘loved one’ – and don’t you hate that cotton-wool-mouthed one-ever-so-caring-fits-all phrase! – is about to be enshrouded) of a white-wound slowly-roasting mummified object.
I’m not sure (without Googling, and the ten minute rule forbids that) whether ‘winding sheet’ is biblical or Dickensian in origin (or at least cultural origin for me) but a third image – imaginary because I never was a boy scout either, for obvious reasons – is of what my brother told me was a ‘damper’ - a piece of dough wrapped round and round a twig and roasted over an open bonfire. Even without English weather, rain, muddy boots and homesick spotty adolescents the idea doesn’t sound like much of a culinary delight. Nor practical for a body.