Saturday, 10 May 2008

What Would You Do With a Flat Iron?




What would you do with a flat iron?



My mother, a lady of some eccentricity, possibly bordering on madness, always preferred to use a flat iron rather than an electric one, insisting,

'You get a much better finish on your linens.'

'Yes Mum. Yawn!' At the same time vowing never to buy anything that ever needed to go near an iron, least of all one that my mates were only ever likely to see in a museum.

This was the same woman who owned curling tongs that had to be stuck in the fire to be warmed up, then tested on a piece of newspaper. As a small child I went to many birthday parties smelling of slightly singed hair. Once, in a moment of abstraction, and to my great glee, she frazzled my sister's hair so badly a huge clump had to be cut off.

Let me explain. I was seven the year electricity came to our house and by then my mum, in her late forties, was very set in her ways and saw no need to make any alterations to domestic arrangements that had seen her through over twenty years of married life, three children and a world war. She was also seeing visions in the trees, but that's another story entirely...

I've just come back from a few days visiting my big sister. Even before I'd undone my coat and sat down to the statutory tea and cake, she's a stalwart member of the Scottish W.I. and proud of her baking, a competitive sport in her village, where cake mixes are the equivalent of performance enhancing drugs, she dumped a flat iron on the table in front of me.

'There you are. You said you wanted one.'

My man turned towards me, his eyebrows raised in enquiry and surprise.A little wide eyed myself, but ever the adept liar, I smiled brightly and said,

'Great, thanks.'

Then it dawned, many years ago, after Mum had gone into a nursing home and we girls had to clear out and pack up her cottage, I was mildly annoyed when another sister grabbed the old iron griddle Mum had used to make wonderful drop scones. When I unearthed the family recipe for 'scotch pancakes' a couple of months ago, I asked my sister to look out for an old iron griddle, just like mum's. She's always involved in bring and buy sales and, as these griddles were once an essential tool in every Scottish kitchen, I thought it likely one would turn up.

Ah Well. At least I'll be able to get a good finish on my linens. If I had any...Could I use it as a camping iron? Perhaps not.

18 comments:

Crystal Jigsaw said...

I'm not sure what I would do with it! There are three in this house which look at least a hundred years old. I had one valued last year and it came in at £40 which I thought was fairly high for a rusty old piece of iron.

CJ xx

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

Berlimey . . . that took me back to a time when had no heating in the house other than the coal fire in the sitting room, no fridge, Tv, or washing machine. Couldn't help but laugh at the idea of you going to parties with the smell of slightly singed hair . . .

Use your flat iron as an ornament . . .

bradan said...

Know what you mean about the 'competitive sport of baking' goes on here too!

My Granny had a lovely griddle which I so wanted but, when she moved in with my uncle and aunt, all her 'old fashioned stuff' was disposed of.
My neighbour has her Mam's old iron and copper kettle on her hearth, they look quite good there.

Frances said...

I so enjoyed reading this. It really does remind us of what has happened technology-wise during a relatively short period of time.

I would think of that flat iron as beautiful little sculture, since the design is really quite wonderful. Maybe just enjoy looking at it, certainly do not do any ironing!

Elizabethd said...

Or.........turn it upside down for the drop scones?

Pondside said...

The Great Dane inheirited a little collection of flat irons - I keep them on the hearth in front of the wood stove. I'll open a laundry business if ever the power goes off permanently and all and sundry will be lining up at my door to have their linens ironed (what a thought!)

Sally's Chateau said...

They make great door stops, but for ironing ? a task to be avoided at all costs in my opinion !!

UN PEU LOUFOQUE said...

Your Mum was right you get a perfect finish! Use it as a book end..you might need to get another one to match though..so perhaps it might be better to use it as a door stop.

Faith said...

What a lovely photo Lampie - I love white linen, cotton, broderie anglais, lace. I adore the idea of flat irons, mangles, anything from 'grandma's kitchen' but would hate the work. In answer to the question of your heading, I would probably put it somewhere in the kitchen as an ornament.

Cait O'Connor said...

I have a few and I use them as bookends.

LittleBrownDog said...

Yes, a very beautiful photograph, Lampie. A doorstop or a bookend would be ideal uses for a flat iron. Certainly not ironing, however desperate you might be for beautifully pressed linen.

Inthemud said...

I too have a flat iron, but friad it's never used for purpose, it sits on the hearth and i use it to open and shut the vent on the fire which gets too hot to handle!!

I remember my nan using a flat iron years back

Lovely blog!

Blossomcottage said...

Same as the electric iron leave it in the cupboard and shake and fold!!
No just kidding I think it is just nice to look at and remember how lucky we are not to have to use them anymore.
Blossom

mountainear said...

A flat iron is something I never ever hope to use - I've only to see one to think how lucky we are to have easy-care fabrics and electric irons.

That said, were a family item ever to come my way, then I guess I'd be proud to give it a home as a reminder of the tough life our mothers and grandmothers put up with.

Exmoorjane said...

A paperweight? An earring!
Griddle would be useful though..
jx

HER ON THE HILL said...

Kosh your sister over the head with it...?!

Mine got lost in a move. The removal man must have been desperate for a doorstop. Or a blunt instrument. Scary.

laurie said...

oh, but what a great story! what great memories!

my mother had a tiny one when i was little--it had been her toy when she was small. (not often you can work the words "tiny" "little" and "small" all into the same sentence.)

it worked just like a full-sized one.

and if you dropped it, man, you'd break a toe.

Milla said...

very enjoyable. And a bookend certainly!