Life, photos but not the universe

domestic science.

Barney had a trouser hem come undone and I sewed it up for him.  This sounds like a very ordinary thing to do but in my case it’s not, as I dislike sewing.  Also I claim to be very bad at it and thus was very surprised when, one day, my Mother-in-Law said “but you sew beautifully Mig”.   I was less surprised when I saw some of her sewing a while later.  There were many things she was very good at but sewing was not one of them.  Ah, I miss her.  She was a lovely, funny, uninhibited lady.

I can still thread a needle with my bare eyes*.  It’s a bit hit and miss these days but as long as you point the thread at the right bit of needle and keep them all outlined against a contrasting background it seems to go in all right.  When I can’t do that I’ll know I’m in trouble as I’m short, not long, sighted.

So,  domestic science.**  That was a game.  The Domestic Science  teacher tried hard to teach us how to make the necessary dishes and garments to get through the end of term exams.  (She even tried hard with me and I seem to remember she quite liked me even though I must have been her least promising student in years).   I particularly remember the rock cakes (more than usually aptly named in my case) and the Steak and Kidney- er- rock.  No – pie.  Yes it was definitely pie-shaped.  The rock cakes were always given to the woodwork boys after the lesson (don’t ask!  But I was furious.  I wanted to eat them.) and the steak and kidney rock pie didn’t get eaten.  Not just because of the strength of the pastry (I should have taken it over to the woodwork class) but because of its greyness.  Something to do with an art class immediately before Domestic science.  Paint covered fingers, see.***  And, because I was a slow learner (and an even slower worker), my filling didn’t go into the oven in time to cook properly so it was very, very tough.  It took me a few years to learn how to cook but once I’d got the idea (and was allowed to eat my culinary works myself) it seemed to work really quite well.

Then there was the dress.  I have to say I quite enjoyed choosing the material and the design. Cutting out and  pinning – no problem.  (As far as one could tell, since there never was a finished result to see if it had been done right).  Tacking wasn’t great but at least you could get away with making very long stitches.  I think I got most of it tacked together eventually.   It was the sewing that brought the whole thing to a halt.  There weren’t enough sewing machines for all of us, naturally, so we had to take turns.  Being neither big, strong, noisy or popular, I rarely got near the machines and when a chance came up I was usually too busy not doing something I ought to be doing to grab my turn or I took so long to thread the machine that my turn ran out before I got to actually sew anything.  And then of course it just had to be done by hand.

To be honest, I think my Mum should have cheated and done it for me at home, or at least sat with me and encouraged a bit.  But I don’t blame her for not doing it.  She had enough on her plate already and I wouldn’t have responded with any enthusiasm.  I was quite a pain in the arse in those days.   (Funny thing, she agreed to make my wedding dress and we did really well at the choosing of design and material and then she just ran out of energy and I pretty well made the whole thing.  It was blue velvet and rather splendidly medieval looking.  Quite a success.)

It’s pouring with rain.  This is quite good in a way because that’s what the weather forecast said it would do.  And later, it said there would be sunny spells.

Like this perhaps?

No I thought not.

Oh well : )

I hope you’re all tucked in somewhere warm and dry.


*No no, obviously not with the actual eyes!

**that’s what we called cookery lessons at school, long ago – I recall wondering why the boys weren’t doing construction science, ie woodwork.

***Yes, yes I know I was supposed to wash my hands before cooking but good heavens, I was always late without the added time wasting of hand washing.  Just as well the rock cakes got eaten by the boys and nobody ate the rock pie then.


November 22, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. that last photo is truly magnificent!

    argh Domestic Science. . .


    we too learnt how to bake the dreaded rock cakes, and a pizza with a cheese scone base. . . and I can still remember the ugliest skirt in Christendom – my mother was a talented seamstress, and yet she chose the most horrible green fabric for me to sew for the skirt I had to make thus I hated it and never wore the finished article and didn’t sew again until a decade or so ago

    makes me smile now, looking back!


    Pizza!! We hadn’t even heard of pizza 🙂
    I think they still make rock cakes at school but it seems to be a lot more fun now. One year Middle girl came home with chocolate walnut bread – she got to invent her own recipe.

    Comment by I, Like The View | November 22, 2009 | Reply

  2. (oh, and I used to so wish my mother had been alive when I married – she’d have done a marvellous job with the dress) (if I’d have been allowed to choose the fabric and the pattern) (which I probably wouldn’t have been, actually, knowing her, so perhaps that wasn’t such a loss after all!!!!)

    (yours sounds incredible!)

    I remember, sadly, the only time my Mum made me something really beautiful it was for the school nativity play. In grey silk trimmed with big bands of something shimmery gold and sparkly. We loved it until the drama teacher said it was really too good for a mere shepherd and could we let one of the kings wear it please. I sulked for weeks and all through the play! And I never forgave the girl who did get to wear it.

    Comment by I, Like The View | November 22, 2009 | Reply

  3. Oh……”Home Economics”…. Lemme join ILTV in the shudder…. *shudder*

    I remember the pillow, yaknow–something sorta square that was poofy. LOL k…..seriously, I sucked on the sewing machine.
    Before I went to that evil class I could sew by hand like you wouldn’t believe. Years of quilting with a grandmotherly person who taught me well, I’d guess. But a machine?! UH uh.
    That’s still sorta the deal with me. Machines and I have a problem co-existing. LOL
    INCLUDING the stove.
    Oh……don’t even make me embarass myself on the cooking deal.

    I do NOT cook.
    But BOY can I bake!
    Why that is–dunno. I just know it is.

    Oh….. That last photo is WAY awesome!

    Machines I can cope with. Even, now I’ve got a nice one which seems perfectly willing to produce a threaded needle every time I ask it to, sewing machines.
    But hand making stuff – I just haven’t got the patience. I know how most of it is done from watching my mother and grandmother but I just can’t sit doing the same stitch over and over and over ….AAArgh! Need a book, need to eat, need to be DOING something!!!!
    As for baking, I used to make bread by hand until I realised that I was never ever going to come to terms with standing there beating it up for hours. And then it drove me mad that I had you be there on time, three or four times during the next few hours, to flatten it and put it back to rise and then flatten it again and then cook it only to see that I hadn’t done something right or on time and it just wasn’t a marvel of fresh fluffiness.

    Give me machines!

    Comment by Mel | November 23, 2009 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: