I THINK that it’s in one of Ian Rankin’s Inspector Rebus novels that, as the body
count mounts, someone asks the detective “When did it all start going wrong?”
Rebus thinks for a while, then says “It happened when people stopped darning socks.”
My mum used a wooden ‘egg’ for darning. You’d push it into the heel or toe of the
sock. There was a groove down the side of it, possibly to allow you to push the needle
through more easily.
Now that socks are almost indestructable we don’t have much use for our darning mushroom
(right, with needle case). Socks have generally become worn so thin by the time they
go into holes that it’s not worth making the repair.
‘Look at him working, darning his socks In the night when there’s nobody there. What
does he care?’
The Beatles, Eleanor Rigby
However, I’m proud of a repair that I made this morning. I love doing bits of DIY
around the house but always feel I’m being indulgent taking time off from my book
work. This was such a small job, and it was after all Saturday morning, so I decided
I’d go ahead and do it.
It was a sagging drawer in our 25 year old bed that was sticking. All it needed was
a baton along the back to stop the flimsy hardboard coming out of its groove at the
back of the drawer.
I’ve got a fold-down work bench in the garage with tools, glue and various off-cuts
to hand, so it’s not a problem to start a job. It’s just not feeling guilty about
taking time off from ‘real’ work that I find difficult.