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  It Was a Tents Time
Thursday 13 June, 2019

The other day I was required to walk into town to send a parcel via the Post Office. I checked the weather forecast and rain was expected all day. In fact, there didn’t seem to be a ‘good’ time to go as it was going to be wet no matter what time I chose.

Out came my rain cape. On it went, along with a baseball cap within the hood so as to keep the worst off my spectacles.

The good thing about my rain cape is that I can go out wearing a t-shirt; stay dry; but remain cool (although outside was wet and raining – it wasn’t cold). I set off and was happy knowing I was going arrive at the Post Office, both dry and not sweaty. I had my small parcel weighed; paid the postage fee; and left to set off home.

Not a drop of rain fell during my walk home. There I was – swathed by water repellent material that made me look like a tent flapping about in a stiff breeze – and yet there was no water to repel.

Still, it caused raised eyebrows and smiles among those I passed as I trudged home.


Phil O'Hara

Sewing Guide
Sunday 2 June, 2019

Oh, the power of Facebook!

Having spotted a Post about sewing advice, I realised that a piece recently written for a magazine would surely be well received by those who seek such enlightenment.

That someone commented upon the Post with the observation that it must have been written by a man was the final impetus.

- o - O - o -

From time-to-time, one of my socks will develop a hole. Naturally, these days it is far easier to take the view that it has died and needs to be replaced by a new sock. However, the environmentally aware person I have become will set about darning them so that they last much longer than expected. This avoids them ending up as part of landfill too soon.

Of course, I have had to develop a whole new range of skills. The hardest one, at my age, seems to be ‘threading the needle.’ The little opening at one end of the sewing stick seems far too small, in my opinion, but I always persevere and win most times.

Then there is the actual darning. The idea is to push the needle thing into the material, and through it, and back out again, many times until the unwanted hole is smaller, or gone.

It might be worth pointing out, at this juncture, that wherever a repair is made, there is a loss of elasticity. Consequently, if a hole appears in a location subject to a large amount of flexing and stretching, then repairs may only last a short time, or even not be possible. So if looking for an excuse to not darn your socks, that little gem might assuage any feelings of guilt that may briefly wash over you.

However, if you decide to push on and mend the faulty sock, then you will need to apply a mix of commonsense and ability in order to successfully return your socks to their drawer as useful pieces of footwear apparel.

You can study the problem a while, or stab blindly at the material in the hope that it all works out, but neither approach tends to be overly helpful. So I thought that I would offer some words of advice that have come to me through experience, as a man, of how to proceed and succeed.

All you need do is concentrate and look for signs of blood.

That’s it.

Assuming you have won the Battle of Threading, you need to stick the needle into the sock in the region of the tear or hole. If there is blood and pain, then withdraw the needle and move your finger aside under the material. If there is blood but no pain, then again withdraw the needle and ask anyone sitting near you to move further away.

If you discover that no matter how much care you apply, there is always blood and pain, then it may be that the hole is simply too big to repair.

It is pretty simple once you master those basics.

With a little practise you will find that it eventually takes less time to darn a sock than it does to get the car out of the garage, drive to the next town, wander aimlessly through the shops, and then return with a new pack of socks.

Never let it be said that men don’t share domestic chores advice!