Say the word "shuttle" and most sane, normal people will
immediately think of perhaps the space shuttle,
the Eurotunnel train service or even a shuttlecock,
that strange, feathered flying object that badmington players
seem hell bent upon beating to death with their rackets.
|But what's it for?|
But not me. For me it can mean only one thing - tatting,
and I still, to this day, bear the childhood scars of my close
encounters of the tatting kind.
|Very pretty, but I ask again, what's it for?|
My mother, as I think I may have mentioned once or twice,
was a formiddable woman of ample proportions,
an iron will (she left everything to the foundry)
and a penchant for Black Russians and Passing Clouds
both of which were varieties of cocktail cigarettes.
The former named because of it's colour and country of
origin and the latter, I always assumed, because of the
banks of smoke which reguarly enveloped her as she
persued her sixty a day target with customary gusto.
Ah, those were the days. No wonder I was such a sickly
child, but I digress.
|Just watch me and you'll soon learn - fat chance!|
On wet afternoons once the lunch things had been washed
up we would settle down in the front room on the brown,
overstuffed sofa where, in certain lights, it could be quite
difficult to distinguish where the cushions ended and
my mother began. Then out would come the dreaded sewing
basket and the torture would begin - tatting lessons for
tiny tots. As terrifying as it was illiterative. They always
ended in tears and nothing good ever came of them.
|My shuttles weren't nearly so nice.|
She would press the wretched shuttles (yes, there were sometimes
two of them) into my pudgey little hands while at the same time issuing
a physically impossible string of instructions in the expectation of
miracles which, as we all know, seldom if ever happen.
|The ends could be quite sharp in the wrong hands!|
Listen With Mother and Woman's Hour on the radio would
come and go; the dusting of cigarette ash gently falling upon
her tightly corsetted bosom would grow into drifts; and we
were usually well into the afternoon play before she finally
conceded defeat and I was let off the hook to persue pleasures
of my own choice.
I never did master the Josephine knot or the tedious picot loop
and, do you know what? I don't really care!