Today I became re-acquainted with an old and trusty friend.
She's over a hundred years now, I reckon, and I can't remember the last time I saw her. I do know,
however, that I treated her rather badly on that occasion. I stowed her away at the very back of the under-stairs cupboard - and promptly forgot all about her. It's simply not the way to treat an old friend...
I'm talking about my old Jones sewing machine "By Appointment to Queen Alexandra" is the proud announcement she bears. She was already pretty old when I bought her, second-hand, in 1967 for the princely sum of £8. I remember I
paid for her, week by week, out of my Family Allowance which was 8 shillings a week ( a princely 40p for two children!) She was worth every penny. So were the children.
Oh, the dresses I made with
her help. Nothing complicated, I hasten to add. My needlework is like my cooking: basic. But in the Sixties you could get by perfectly well with basic. I still feel a sense of pride when I see old photographs of the Darling Daughters in their print dresses
(with matching knickers) standing next to me, in my home-made mini-dress (very short = less material..) The Darling Daughters think otherwise: "Just look at what we're wearing! How could you dress us like that?!" We are unrepentant, me and Mrs Jones...
The only reason I happened across my dear old friend today was because we had engaged the services of a frighteningly-jolly electrician to fit a whole new, up to date, circuit board - in the course of which
he had to turn everything out of the understairs cupboard. And there she was - dusty, but unbowed.
How very timely! I thought to myself. Here I am with half a metre of super-width material with laughing
snowmen dancing all across it, which has to be turned into two draw-string bags in which my Little Welsh Boys will be able to stow all those puppets we have bought them off e-bay. In double-quick time. I was going to sew them by hand, having forgotten all
about my old friend, pining away in the cupboard. How much quicker the task will be with the help of Mrs Jones.
Except that I have hit a snag. I can't remember, for the life of me, how the silver-coloured,
rocket-shaped shuttle fits in its little compartment. And who would know, nowadays? Queen Alexandra, for example, is long dead. I've fiddled and twisted, all to no avail. I've tried googling but it seems my old friend is a museum piece. It appears
that nobody expects anyone will actually still be using one.
Please help, if you can! Otherwise it'll be back to a needle and thread for me.
And back into the understairs cupboard for You Know Who...