Life seems to follow an inevitably cyclical course. I'm not talking about the *wake,eat,work,eat,sleep* daily cycle, so much as those things that keep coming up with monotonous regularity, but still seem to catch you unawares.
I've blogged several times over the years about my love-hate relationship with a vital tool in my workroom.... the steam iron.
As with most relationships, it begins with the heady days of head-over-heels love.
Each morning I practically dance into the workroom, looking forward to smoothing sumptuous silks with the gleaming newcomer.... it's pristine, glimmering soleplate full of promise of things to come.
Predictably, over time, the relationship cools.
We both make mistakes.
I inadvertently touch it to the wrong side of a piece of vilene. It carelessly scorches a costly piece of fabric.
There are recriminations, apportioning of blame, feelings of guilt.
Eventually, we are barely even on speaking terms.
It sighs with disdain, spluttering gouts of scale-laden steam onto my padded ironing board.
I glower, huffily cleaning up the mess, muttering under my breath about age-related incontinence.
However, as with most relationships, it's difficult to resolve the ingrained difficulties. Even more difficult to abandon a true love. Better the devil you know....
Its once frictionless soleplate is battle scarred with deposits of ancient glue and melded-on vilene.
There are scratches... the result of accidentally running over pins.
The laughably named 'non-stick' coating is worn round the edges, revealing bare metal beneath.
Its vent holes are rimed with scale, and its steam no longer purrs, but explodes in great bouts of uncontrollable coughing, startling us both.
Finally, there is a showdown. One frazzled seam too far.
No longer will a wipe with a soapy cloth suffice. Neither will any of the household remedies for restoring iron soleplates.
Salt, vinegar, baking powder paste... none have any noticeable effect.
Moving up the chemical scale... nail varnish remover, isopropyl alcohol. Still no improvement.
We've almost reached the end of the line. We both know it.
We've reached the point of no return... It's time for one last ditch attempt to heal our fractured union.
After half an hour of sustained scrubbing, rinsing and more scrubbing, the worst of the accumulated accretions have been removed and only the most stubborn and intractable remain.
However, victory comes at a cost and we both know it will be short-lived. The surface no longer gleams... it is dull and lifeless.
Full of remorse, I gently clean out the vent holes with a damp cotton bud, hoping to improve its steaming ability. In response, drops of water form, like tears, to overflow and roll down the surface.
My iron is crying and I suddenly feel conscience-stricken, so sorry for all the harsh words and actions which have passed between us.
I lightly mist the surface with a silicone spray, hoping to smooth and repair. Tentatively I switch it on to do a test, trusting it with a piece of very special silk, which I've been keeping for a very special little doll.
There is an initial splutter, and I hesitate, holding back, but it quickly resolves to a gentle hiss of steam. Encouraged I tentatively touch the soleplate to my precious silk. It glides across the surface, smoothing the creases. Not perhaps as speedily and efficiently as when it was new, but gliding nonetheless.
We are reconciled and my elderly steam iron lives to press another day.
*I think the lockdown might be having a serious impact on my mental health*