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,
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.