Sunday, 15 September 2019

I thought the "untidy shop"

would be busy. It wasn't.
There is a "sale" on at present and I tend to avoid such places when there is any sort of so-called sale on. But, I needed something. I went.
The "untidy shop" - as we call it - is a huge place. I have written about it before. You need to prowl through manchester and cookware and, just now, Halloween nonsense to get to things like buttons and thread and elastic.
There was a woman standing where I needed to be. She was frowning over the cards of buttons. 
    "Wouldn't you think I could find something which matched?" she asked me, "All these buttons and nothing matches!" 
I could see her point. You ought to be able to buy shirt buttons which match. Is pale blue such an odd colour for a man's shirt?
Perhaps it is. When I was a kitten men's shirts "for best" came in only one colour - white. They only had one sort of button - white. My paternal grandfather still wore shirts with detachable collars. The Senior Cat's best Sunday shirt had a detachable collar - because his mother thought that was "proper". His weekday school teacher shirts were all white. They were white cotton. They had to be ironed.
Grandma taught me how to iron a shirt as well as starch the detachable collar around a pudding basin. She was appalled by the "nylon" shirts my maternal grandmother bought for my maternal grandfather.  I don't blame her. They were horrible things. They might not have needed ironing but they were hot. They didn't breathe at all. They went from "white" to "yellowish" fairly quickly. The collars didn't sit properly. 
The Senior Cat was given one of these by my maternal grandmother. I can remember her telling my mother that it would "save work".  It didn't. The Senior Cat wore it once and, not a fussy dresser in the least, declared "never again". My mother actually agreed. Fortunately we had moved far enough away that my maternal grandmother never found out about the shirt not being worn.
My paternal grandmother washed my grandfather's shirts by hand. She scrubbed the collars and the cuffs to a gleaming white. They shone silkily with starch. They were made of pure cotton and lasted for years. The idea of "drip-dry" and "non-iron" were things she would not entertain. 
And so I had to learn how to deal with those things too. I am glad I did. 
But where would it get me now if I was looking for the right sort of pale blue button for the Senior Cat's shirt?  I made a suggestion to the woman who was standing there,
     "Try the local opportunity shop perhaps? Our local one seems to have a decent selection of shirt buttons."
She smiled at me in relief.
      "I should have thought of that."
I hope she finds what she wants there.


Anonymous said...

Charity shops are useful for all sorts of things - knitting needles for someone starting to knit, woolly jumpers for someone wanting to felt them into something else - and I notice some of the ones near me also offer lavatory facilities if needed! And a welcoming attitude to all. (Some extend minor credit, and say it is nearly always paid back.)


jeanfromcornwall said...

I am thinking of my Father's nylon shirts. He loved them and would always wear them for preference. However, he insisted that Mum had to iron them, and we didn't appreciated the rising cloud of armpit scent that arose, since no amount of washing would get rid of it. And the darned things just wouldn't wear out! What finished them off in the end was the total disintegration of the thread that held them together.