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Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Pressing Concerns, ho ho

The more terminally bored among you might be giving anxious thought to how we are keeping clothes uncreased since the dog ate the iron. Fortunately we favour the crumpled look, but with a wedding looming it seems seemly to invest in a new one.

So, chancing upon an Argos catalogue (why do children love catalogues so much? F8 favours the ScrewFix catalogue, which he carries around everywhere, making him now an expert on a bewildering infinity of drill bits and overflow items) and having pledged to buy from T11 a number of Argos vouchers he was given for his birthday, I took me to the iron page. Correction: iron pageS.

For, people, irons have morphed. No longer are they merely a vaguely triangular thing you plug into the wall, and press bad temperedly over clothes while the owners of those clothes watch television. I have led a sheltered life and in the meantime irons have Got Modern.

There are 84 of them, and they are brightly coloured: they resemble trainers not boring old irons and, indeed, look as if, in their spare time, they like to go dancin’ or travel through space.
They have names, they are turbos and generators and experts, and want to travel the world, work with children and nurse sick animals.
Codes have been ascribed – brownie points if you like – for steam capabilities and soleplate function.
I hadn’t realised so many bits of an iron had a term, either. I’m all for the naming of parts, but familiarity with these is somewhat depressing.

Pages of irons there are in this catalogue, photographed – best side to the fore, please – against a flattering black, and all promise the world: they have become politicians.
No mention is made of their nasty little habits, their soleplate solecisms, their steam failings, their sneaking fondness for getting sticky on the bottom and dragging burnt brown stuff over clean white shirts.
I feel a primordial expectation of betrayal awaiting me somewhere down the line, about a week after the warranty expires, if things follow the predictable pattern of the past repeating itself upon the future.

Dizzy, I was, on staring blankly at the pages, suddenly baffled, a creaky door being force-opened in my consciousness to file, compare and assess something as deeply prosaic as an iron. Feeling that it is only when the wrong decision is made that all will become clear and too late will I finally know which one I should have bought.

It flooded back the Buying A Hi-Fi horrors of the ‘80s when woofers and twitters briefly obsessed me. Having heard of neither, suddenly I was meant to be basing a purchase on comparative wonders of same. Swiftly, they dominated my every thought until I succumbed to the inevitable, got an attack of the Sod Its and bought the one I liked the look of. Akin to betting on the Grand National on the basis of the horse’s name: forget Form, or Going or Past Performance: is its name cute? I chose, and never looked back. Although in those days, what my swinish children like to call the old days, built-in obsolescence wasn’t quite such the art form it has attained today.

Still I feel the compulsion to dither indecisively for an irritating amount of time, concealing this necessary part of the process in the arc from reluctant need to final ownership from E [Bill] who can be really quite unpleasant.

“What does it need to do?” he might ask, with an impatient and patronising tinge to his voice which I recognise from many other such forays into Choice Paralysis Land (kitchen, bathroom, granite, hoovers, all “white goods”, paint colours, carpets, cars, children’s names, “what shall I read next?” …)

“Iron,” I mutter meekly, all but crushed by his common sense. How can he not fall victim to the world of possibilities, albeit admittedly none of them being life changing, represented by this current iron-shaped hole in our lives?

“Well buy a bloody iron, then,” he says, “they’re all the bloody same.” (We value the power of language and favour descriptive words in our family, the mot juste.)
I rally tinily to gesture bold-weakly at how, actually, darling, this isn’t quite the case any more, and dare to whisper “soleplate”. He is not ready for turbo.

Fazed, rippling the pages between my anxious hands, I feel like an old person expected to understand rap music or to get an iPod to work. Or indeed just me expected to understand rap music or get an iPod to work. But at least I do recognise that rap and iPods exist whereas, in his bored denial he is rendered an old person refusing to grasp that either rap or iPods even exist, hands in ears like a child, nah nah nah (oh dear, an old person child). But since he is my very own old person who makes my iPod work, whereas I cannot, the analogy crumbles and falls and starts getting confusing and I need yet another little lie down.
The iron can wait. What’s wrong with creases?

35 comments:

Bill said...

I had no idea you were so exercised by the choices before you. It's a good think I didn't mention that The Factory Shop has a good range of mostly triangular things that, when plugged into the wall and filled with water, will (with some caveats relating to soleplates and brown sludge) remove creases from wedding outfits. In any case, who cares? What's on the TV?

Elizabethd said...

Just buy linen Milla, the creased look is in!
As to irons.....I had no idea that we have travelled so far into a new awareness of what is a very simple job, pressing the beastly clothes. To me, they are a bit like cars, they either work or they don't.!

ChrisH said...

So pleased to read about the elevated conversation in your house. Tom's shopping advice is much the same. I now buy £4.95 steam irons which seem to go on as long as all singing all dancing jobs ie until I drop them on the floor. (Gawd - you are going to flooded with ironing advice now).

Suffolkmum said...

Brilliant. I thought you meant you were blogging about iron the metal and was expecting some sort of foray into iron age architecture. This far exceeded my expectations! My son loves the Screwfix catalogue too. And Argos. Stick with the crumpled look, is my advice. After all, you did without water - frugality on the domestic appliance front is probably very 2007/8.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

It is indeed mindblowing to buy a new iron. I have several. Two of which are over a hundred years old, I don't use them of course but I bet they could run ring round the modern ones that clog and don't last long enough to iron a duvet.

Crystal xx

Woozle1967 said...

My town mouse friend says with arched eyebrow, that a stainless steel soleplate is THE only way to go. Another insists on an ultraglide coated soleplate. Decisions decisions.........

Casdok said...

You could do what my son does and not wear any!!

Faith said...

That was the funniest thing I have read for ages! I laughed out loud and being quite a serious person I hardly even do that. I have to say I hate irons and use a steam iron without making it steam. I use a plastic spray bottle of water and spray as I go. Brilliant blog - you should be writing a column.

vic said...

Brilliant. I go through a fair number of irons as I have a tendancy to drop them on the floor. I get my husband to buy replacement irons, kettles, etc etc cos I really have no interest in them!

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

Oh be carefull Milla - it is a jungle out there . . I bought one without realising that it flashes a red light accusingly when I haven't used it for eight minutes . . .It is probably linked straight through to the iron police so they will know what a laggard I am.

Pondside said...

Buy the cheapest one - as long as it has steam and an automatic shut-off. It will last as long as the super-deluxe model. Or encourage Bill to choose one and then give him the responsibility for de-wrinkling his own clothes!

LittleBrownDog said...

Oh, Milla - only you can make the humble iron sound so fascinating. See - I'm reaching for my Argos catalogue as I type...

Disappointingly, though, I fear, having bought a few irons in my time, they all morph tragically into brown-goo spreading implements in time. What you could do, of course, is get the dog to choose. Just hold up the pages of the catalogue in front her and watch her salivate like Pavlov's dog...

Waiting with baited breath for the next instalment of the iron saga...

Bill said...

For most clothes I regard ironing as entirely de trop. My mother averred (and I agree) that if you dry clothes correctly, and fold them carefully afterwards, most don't need ironing. The only clothes I ever iron are dress shirts. Milla does, it's true, sometimes iron my clothes, but I'd much rather she spent the time blogging. In any case, most clothes are wrinkled within five minutes of putting them on, so what's the point? I certainly draw the line at a friend of ours' ex-wife, who used to iron pants, handkerchiefs and the like. The words, Life, A and Get sprang to mind.

Pipany said...

Yep, Screwfix on the shelf in the loo (WHY?!!!) and Argos constantly left lying around by ever-hopeul children. I repeat...Why? Great blog though Milla xx

Exmoorjane said...

Help, what's Screwfix? Presumably I don't want to know.
btw, get T or F to choose the iron - they will know (or pick the funkiest one).... Or pick one in a nice colour (that's how I do it - now awaiting caustic comment and rolled eyes from Bill). jxxx

CAMILLA said...

Lovely amusing Blog Milla, even though I should think at the time you did not find it amusing having to decide which one to go for, ah gone are the days of those old Black Flat Irons. One could even warm their bed with them, and then creep between the sheets, hoping that one could remember to have taken the iron out, no electric blankets in them days, no sireee.

Faith said you should write a Column Milla, well at not to keep repeating myself more than once, Yes.... of course you should, well you did, and other side did not know a good thing if it kicked them in the mouth. Actually, I think the lovely Bill and You should write a Column together, both your wit is so intoxicating.

The new look for the 2008 is non-crease clothes, hopefully.!

KittyB said...

When you get your tumble drier the iron will be almost obsolete anyway, as long and you remember to 'fluff and fold' (yes, there's actual terminology for it) while the things are still warm.

Posie Rosie said...

Oh that made me giggle, and I know exactly how you feel...no our puppy hasn't eaten our iron...yet, but thye choice is phenomenal, and it is such a boring purchase, that, well where does one start!

@themill said...

Hated ironing with a passion, would rather clean the loos, until, forced by holiday cottage and B&B laundry (I was somewhat surprised to know that I wasn't allowed to permit my guests to sleep in non ironed bedlinen)I took out the gross national debt to buy a dogs bollocks of an iron, refered to by my sister as the Gucci Iron, that has a reservoir in the base and hisses so much steam i swear to God it would run a train. Phew! Notice long sentence with deference to you.

elizabethm said...

You see, I go away for a couple of days to pretend to have a professional life and I miss your blog!
Sadly it is Ian who is the Screwfix junkie - the delivery man comes so often he times his visit for lunch so he can eat his sandwiches and look at our view. All kids were Argos mad when younger. Hyperorganised younger daughter used to mark all the relevant pages with post it tags.
Never get the cheapest, get the third cheapest. Use this principle for buying practically everything and it doesn't let me down and means I don't have to actually think.

muddyboots said...

close to bishop cleeve? were in oxenton...

annakarenin said...

Mike is in charge of ironing and the buying of thank goodness. He knows I wouldn't bother with either.

annakarenin said...

Just noticed Muddyboots mention Bishops Cleeves which is where Mike works now. Assume that was where she was visiting recently. Are you in Oxenton then?

Fennie said...

Thanks for making me laugh. This is just so me - the business of the irons, I mean. Exactly what happened when our iron expired and I was faced with buying something new. Same for kettles, too, and now we have just acquired, via son-in-law who has gone to work there, a new Dyson, which looks as though it spends it's free time auditioning for bit parts in Star Wars. When I switched it on, the suction pulled me downwards to the floor! Weird! It has sat for 48 hours in the living room where it was switched off. I think we are too scared to move it let alone switch it on again!

sally's chateau said...

Stuff ironing ! I feel exactly the same as you when faced with buying any electrical appliance whatsover. Hey, whats 'gurt lush' ? whatever it is it made HL and I laugh !!

Grouse said...

I threw out the iron years ago- if it doesnt tumble uncreased it goes to the charity shop....

Jaja said...

'and press bad temperedly over clothes while the owners of those clothes watch television'
:) thats usually my place, before the telly...

I was smiling through out the post.

Wooly Works said...

How refreshing to hear someone who thinks so much like I do. It's amazing how quickly I find myself outdated, behind the times. You have a gift for finding the humor in everyday thought processes and situations. I love your sense of fun. As a new reader to you blog, I'm looking forward to the next installment. And thanks so much for visiting my blog. I love to read comments on my own everyday situations.

adam said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Country Craft Angel said...

Ah but Milla, have you ever spent £65 on an ironing board??...
Not just any only ironing board...
A Brabantia, if you please!

And I bought it from the old hardware shop in Church Stretton, talk about keeping the community alive. He must have thought it was Christmas. But I needed one and he didn't have a cheaper 'Minky'

warm wishes
x

Exmoorjane said...

Er, hmm, (tapping foot impatiently) aren't we about long overdue for another blog, madam?

david mcmahon said...

G'day from Australia,

You've just ironed out all my problems!

I love your writing style.

Catmoves said...

Very funny post Milla.
In addition to two separate irons my Wild Thing has, we also have inherited what is known as a sad iron. Makes a wonderful door stop.
You really should remember that to a man (even if he knows how to iron) an iron is an iron is an iron.
Or was that a rose? Oh, well.

@themill said...

Pressing concern at the moment is - Where's the next blog??

Tattie Weasle said...

God heavens! I hadn't noticed the iron explosion - well warned. I am fully armed with info now and will be able to tell Dear Charlie where exactly to go when he next asks where the iron is...