Wednesday, 28 January 2015

I Iron My Blouse

I have given up on some aspects of ironing.  Some of my best friends iron their socks, and others iron nothing at all.  Whilst I can't subscribe to either of these extreme positions, these days I can justify an unironed pillow case as easily as I can drink a glass of red wine, but a crumpled blouse is still beyond the pale.

As a history student in the 80s, I took a module in 14th century Irish history and I was delighted when I found out that The Pale is not just a metaphor for a boundary but was an actual boundary delineating the area around Dublin identified as the true extent of English rule in the Middle Ages. Whilst the whole of Ireland was supposedly under English rule as a consequence of the 12th century Norman invasion, The Pale was (in places) physically marked out by fences and ditches as the area in which this rule was influential, an area which diminished over time.

The amount of ironing I do has shrunk over the years.  It has taken me a while to retreat from the ideal standard my mother set.  She had a particular day for washing (Monday), and a day for ironing (Wednesday).  When Granny came to stay she helped out by doing the ironing.  But she did it sitting down, which always looked too casual, almost enjoyable.  It probably was, as she also smoked Woodbines and never put more than two pence in the church collection.

Now, the thought of having a whole day delineated as a washing day or an ironing day has a certain appeal.  I would like to be in control of my clothes to that extent, instead of hurriedly ironing a blouse before going to work as I did today.

Granny used to say that heaven for her would be days spent weeding and nights spent in a bed with freshly washed and ironed sheets.  I know what she  meant.  There is something exquisite about the feel of pressed cotton against my skin.

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