My sister, Maggie, is ace at ironing. She is, indeed, a woman of many talents, all of which I admire and many of which I aspire to - but none more so than the art of ironing.
Let's face it, it really shouldn't be that difficult, should it? It's not as if we live in the Olden Days, when flat irons were the order of the day. I have a Super Steam Iron with all manner of switches and dials, most
of which I have never experimented with - and an ironing board of quite magnificent proportions which Mr B and I have christened The Steaming Monster.
The Steaming Monster is so styled because
the manufacturers claim it has some kind of magic powers by which the steam from the iron is somehow doubled in concentration and smoothing ability when it comes into contact with said ironing board. This was the reason we bought it in the first place
(Mr B is easily convinced by such extravagant claims); it wasn't till we got it home that we realised it was so large there was only one cupboard in the house that could accommodate it. In fact, had I not been in possession of the Usher Gene and therefore
able to fit anything into any space, however inadequate, the Steaming Monster would doubtless spend its life sitting out in the hall, looking completely out-of-place and in-the-way.
if I thought the combination of the Steaming Monster and the Super Steam Iron would do anything for my ironing ability I was soon to be disappointed. Under my sister's iron, creases disappear, under mine they seem to multiply. I am lucky that Mr
B never had the kind of job which required him leaving home each morning in a fresh, crisply ironed shirt. That was a lucky escape for both of us.
Obviously I don't iron anything that doesn't
actually need the magic touch of a smoothing iron. In those far-off days when my children were babes in arms and disposable nappies were horrid things that you would never dream of wrapping round your beloved baby's tender bottom, I never ironed their
terry towelling nappies - though I knew plenty of Super Mums who did. Similarly, towels and tea-towels are all the better for not being ironed, I find. It is a cruel twist of fate, isn't it, that all the clothes which don't need ironing are
invariably the ones which would be easiest to iron?
These are my top five most hated items in my ironing basket:
(i) super-size fitted sheets
- the stuff of which nightmares are made, all those gathers and corners and.... ooh, I'm coming over all unnecessary just at the thought;
(ii) trousers which need creases in them - I've tried without
success to persuade Mr B that he would look much more fashionable without creases in his trousers. I am not sure if my argument carries any weight in the fashion world, especially as I made it up;
(iii) Anything with a collar. Nasty things, collars - it's a shame, really, that you ever have to wash and iron a brand new shirt with a collar because (at least, as washed and ironed by me) they will never, ever, look the same again after
that first wash;
(iv) Frills. Enough said.
(v) Anything that looks the least bit fragile / delicate / liable to be eaten up by an over-heated iron.
Life is too short to mourn every mishap but, oh dear, oh dear....
However today is different and I am "dashing away with a smoothing iron" with a most unusual level of enthusiasm. Ironing
clothes for a holiday is the best kind of ironing because, once consigned to the suitcase, the clothes will gather so many extra creases that nobody will be able to guess at how well-ironed (or not) they were in the first place. So here I stand at the
Steaming Monster, waving my Super Steam Iron over shirts, shorts, skirts and trousers, dreaming of a week away and imagining myself an Ace Ironer.
And, let's face it, life was never meant to
be totally smooth, was it?