This afternoon Andy and I had to dash into town. It was an emergency. We needed a new iron. The old one suddenly went on strike, halfway through unwrinkling a mountain of clothes. I guess we overworked it. Usually the iron has a very quiet life doing nothing much at all. It must have had a nervous breakdown when it saw the huge pile of clothes. Well, that iron is no more. It’s had its day. We now have a newer and better model.

And we can continue ironing our summer clothes.

Yes, it’s changeover time. Out with the winter clothes and in with the summer ones. I just hope now I’ve swapped long sleeved tee shirts for short sleeved ones, the warm weather continues.

The cats are preparing for summer too. They’re shedding hair everywhere. Three long-haired cats produce an awful lot of hair. I don’t suppose they’re looking forward to summer. I always feel so sorry for them on a hot day. I‘m sure they’d like to unzip their long furry coats and crawl out of them. But all they can do is spread themselves out on the cool floor tiles, hoping to let off some heat. Three cat splats.

It’s a very uncomfortable feeling being too hot and not being able to do anything about it. I know. When I was a child we lived in Brisbane for a few years. Brisbane is up the coast, further north, closer to the equator, much hotter than here. We never really had a winter. We didn’t have to do a seasonal changeover of clothes. I’m sure we wore practically the same clothes the whole year round.

One year my grandmother in England sent me a pair of real wool, hand-knitted, long socks. I was so excited. I’d never had such a pair of socks before. I insisted on wearing them to school. That was a big mistake. By the time the bell rang at the end of the day, my poor legs were itchy with heat rash. I never wore those socks again.

Most kids never wore socks at all. In fact they didn’t even wear shoes. They were tough. At least their feet were. I wanted to be tough too. I yearned to set my toes free and feel the dirt beneath my feet. But my mother objected. She had her standards. Bare dirty feet weren’t part of them.

It rains most summer afternoons in Brisbane. One minute it’s dry. The next minute it’s wet. Very wet. It’s a bit like turning on the shower full force. Drivers pull over on the side of the road, because they're unable to see where they’re going. People run for shelter. Then just as suddenly, it’s all over. The sun reappears and steam starts to rise as everything dries off.

One afternoon I was walking home from school when the rain began. I smiled. I saw my opportunity. I quickly whipped off my sandals and shoved them into my school bag. I intended to walk home barefoot. I had a wonderful time splashing in puddles and squeezing mud between my toes. But my delight was soon forgotten when I saw my mother’s face.

“Where’s your sandals?”

“In my bag,” I stammered. “I couldn’t wear them in the rain. The colour would have run and made my feet red.” I was good at thinking up excuses. Unfortunately my mother didn’t agree. A few days later though, I came home with red feet. I’d worn my red sandals in the rain.

These days I never wear sandals. For some reason I don’t like them. I don’t know why. I never go barefoot either. Except if I’m inside or on the grass. My feet just aren’t tough enough. And red? I stay right away from that colour.

I suppose I'd better get back to the ironing. I hope this iron is prepared to work harder than the last one. You see, it’s going to get lots of use.  I have decided to wear ironed clothes this summer. I’ve been getting rather lazy. I’d rather write than iron. I'd rather do a lot of things than iron. But I’m turning over a new leaf, changing my habits, or at least my clothes. Well, I'm going to try.

What do you think: Is ironing that important? Do you wear ironed clothes? Or perhaps there are things far more important than unrumpled clothes. 

And I wonder how long-haired cats survive in Brisbane. Can you imagine wearing a coat like this in the heat of summer?

Image: Persian color-point by Nicholas Titkov, (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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  1. Wonderful, as always, and that picture is SO perfect with this post (aren't you glad I didn't say it was purrrfect?)

    When one of my children was 5, he got up from his nap one day to find my ironing board and iron set up. He looked over at this strange contraption and asked "what's that???" This deprived little child had never seen an iron in his life. For awhile this puzzled me, for I did iron. But then it hit me: this was my wonderfully curious into-everything child who would have been pulling a blazing hot iron on himself so he could examine it closely. I only ironed when this one was fast asleep. Ah! My domestic engineering status was intact! But it has made for a good family story ever since.

    1. Nancy,

      You are welcome to use the word 'purrrfect'. I used 'weather' instead of 'whether'! Do you think anyone thinks I can't spell???

      Ironing IS a dangerous activity! A dear friend of mine has an ironing story she (and I) will never forget. On the day of Thomas' funeral her daughter pulled down the iron off the board and burnt her foot very badly. The friend never said anything to me until much later, not wanting to give me an addition worry on a stressful day. But now Thomas' funeral is all mixed up in one of her family stories.

      Family stories... Isn't it good to have them? Sad ones, happy ones, funny ones...They really bind a family together. Everyone enjoys hearing them.

      Thank you for sharing your own ironing story!

  2. I have ironing ingrained in my head! My mom ironed everything we wore. She grew up where everything was ironed. Her parents had a maid who ironed the bed linens and my mom and her sister were given the chore of ironing their own clothes as well as their brothers. When I school-aged I had to iron my uniform shirt and school skirt. When my husband and I were first married, I ironed all his shirts and put his pants in a fancy pants press that he had bought himself as a bachelor. Now-a-days we buy mostly wrinkle-free clothes. I take the clothes out of the dryer when they are barely damp and hang them to dry the rest of the way. I stopped enjoying ironing when we purchased a Kenmore steam iron that is absolutely gigantic. It has a "launch pad" that leaks water. We bought it because it had auto-shut off. (I am absent-minded, LOL!) But it is so huge and so much trouble that I try hard to escape ironing. Years ago I had a friend who would come to mass looking like the Wreck of the Hesperus. She never ironed her cotton dresses. Then I made another friend who did the same. I decided I needed to fall somewhere between my mom and my friends. I only iron something now if I feel ashamed to wear it wrinkled!

    1. Monica,

      You are another dryer user! I was talking about this on FB. Do most people in the USA use dryers to dry their clothes? Here, we tend to use washing lines, at least if we have a garden. Electricity is very expensive.

      I have taught all my children to iron. We all iron our own clothes (except for Gemma-Rose) though we don't mind helping each other out.

      Oh yes, you need the right iron! Not too heavy, not too light. I hate ironing with an inefficient iron. It seems such a waste of time.

      I love your Wreck of the Hesperus remark! I can just imagine. I don't think I could wear a cotton dress (or skirt) without ironing it first either. I cheat with tee shirts. Body heat usually helps with the wrinkles. They look better after half an hour's wear!

      I have really enjoyed chatting about ironing with you, Monica! Isn't it better to talk about ironing with a friend, rather than actually do it!

  3. When I was 16 mum told me it was time to do my own ironing (yes they irons back then)... so as I had a wee part-time job I used the money to pay someone ... bahaha

    I really don't like ironing and often buy clothes on whether they will need ironing or not. Special clothes are OK because we only wear them now and then but eveyday clothes, no way!

    1. Lisa,

      You really must have hated ironing when you were a teenager! You still do, by the sounds of it. I like how you solved your ironing problem.

      Have you taught your girls to iron? Sophie loves ironing. I think it's time I taught Gemma-Rose. You could pay your daughters to do the ironing if they enjoy it. Except you don't have any clothes that need ironing!

    2. Yes I have taught the girls to iron; in fact ironing a proper collared shirt was part of one of their Brownie badges ;)

    3. Lisa,

      I'm sending all Andy's shirts over to NZ so your girls can iron them for me! Ironing a proper collared shirt involves real skill. I was thinking of starting Gemma-Rose off with something simple like napkins. I'm impressed with Agent Smelly's and The Fashionista's talents!

  4. I always think that cats are kind of silly for not liking water, especially with their fur in summer. It would be a lot more bearable if they could cool down in some water.

    1. Miu,

      I agree! We wash our cats regularly and they always protest. They look very unhappy and sulk for hours afterwards. I would have thought they'd enjoy being wet and cool. But it seems they'd rather be hot and dry. Yes, very silly!


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