Member of the Board (of ironing)

>Thinking family – a domestic task which has spanned the years of our family has been the ironing. I have been the one who does the ironing – and it has been the mindless job I have been doing on Sunday evenings when I’ve been too tired to sit still. Seeing me through that job has been my i-pod, and before that CDs, and before that vinyl and before that those tapes that were forever getting tangled up. But the music doesn’t change. I wonder if it’s generally the case that the music we love in our (late) teens becomes the themes for our whole life. So for me James Taylor still puts a crease in the trousers. Paul Simon still gets the t-shirts ironed. Kirsty MacColl gets the socks paired. There are interruptions to the ironing routine. Old favourites produce new albums, so the steam of the iron has played percussion to Graceland since 1986. Presents provide interruption (this Christmas: Seasick Steve and Mumford & Sons) and new tracks get followed. Katie Melia smoothes, while ironing to the world music of Freshlyground, Orchestra Boabab and Youssou N’Dour seems positively exotic.

Ian Bradley
and David Adam (and many others)point out the prayer themes of Celtic spirituality. Such spirituality prays through all the domestic routine, including fire lighting, getting dressed (patrick) and milking the cow. I have to say that I have been so slow to realise the lost opportunities for prayer when ironing – prayer for the family and the occasions when they will wear the particular clothes – the meetings, the tests, the nights out, their friends, their confidence and their love. Never mind. There will be more ironing next weekend. (Thank you Natalie Maynor for the photo of Ironing Board Sam)

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