Karl’s mum gave us her old iron in 1987 when we first moved in together. It’s a ‘Rowenta Vapo Parat’ and I’ve seen it listed as ‘vintage’. I think it must be at least 35 years old. We did use it to begin with – I think because we thought that social convention required it, but I’m not a great one for ironing and, in recent years, it’s spent more time in the cupboard than out of it.
I don’t really like ironing and would rather spend the time reading or looking out of the window. In this house, clothes are washed, given a good shake and then hung on the washing line where the creases flatten out in the breeze. After that, they are put on hangers or carefully folded and put away and they generally look okay, if not as crisp as they might do.
It has to be admitted that some items don’t get put away as crease-free as others and when that happens I just avoid wearing them. Clothes can last a long time that way. Sometimes, though, a time will come when a particular shirt would be just the ticket and then the iron comes out. The cupboard it lives in isn’t a very nice place – there’s a hot water tank in there and a large collection of dusters on sticks, carrier bags and spare light bulbs. We put our work gloves in there when they get wet; often the work gloves are dirty so the cupboard is pretty dusty. Also, this old house has a lot of woodlice crawling about in it and because the windows are open for much of the time, there is a good population of spiders. Very few flies, though!
Anyway, to cut a long story short, we were going to see family and I decided that it was time to iron a shirt. There was a pause while I thought about where we keep it and then I remembered the cupboard and went to look. There it was, on the floor, under some carrier bags. I pulled it out and frowned, trying to recall when it had last been used. A year ago? Two? Three? I couldn’t remember. It was covered in dust and old grey cobwebs.
Most impressively, there was a ball of something hanging from a thread attached to the ‘steam on’ knob. What could it be?
What is that thing?
It looked a bit like a spider’s egg sac and there were several dead woodlice caught up in it, as well as what looked like a mixture of hairs and bits of wool. Compared to the ball, the thread looked clean and fairly new. What could it be? Was there something living in it? Not wanting to cause disturbance if there was something living in it, I put it in the greenhouse and have been checking to see if anything has happened but, as yet, nothing has.
Even if it is just a ball of random crud, the good news is that the iron cleaned up okay and still works as well as ever – and it’s vintage!