....well in my case not 'contempt' as the saying goes, but the ability to do something well.
I have been clearing out my machine embroidery stuff because I feel I do not wish to do it any more. Now, all I have left is my computerised sewing maching and six drawers full of material, so this morning (as the kitchen was cold and the aga off) I shut myself in my study with the said sewing maching, which I have probably not touched for a year.
First of all, I thought, I would give it a good clean and oil. 'Take out the bobbin race and when you replace it after cleaning and oiling, make sure the race is to the left'. Well, yes, that is good plain English (if you know what the race looks like) but it may just as well have been a foreign language as first of all I couldn't get it apart and then I couldn't get it together again.
Now I could blame my age but I am not altogether sure that is the problem. Because I haven't used the machine for so long I think it was just unfamiliarity. After a lot of struggling, a break for lunch, another lot of struggling, ten minutes to thread the needle - I finally got the thing going and sewed a fine seam, feeling rather pleased with myself. Now I plan to sew for about half an hour each day until I am totally familiar with all the things this rather clever machine can do.
It looks as though life is going to be rather hard for the next few days. Tess is already sitting looking at the Aga and whining. She sleeps in front of it so there will be a rude awakening for her tonight. So it may well be that my study, which houses the central heating pipes under the floor and also the hot water tank, is the warmest place in the house.
I think we must have gone soft. When I think of my parents and the house where I was brought up. We had an open fire in the living room and that was all. On a cold winter's night you sat as near as possible and burnt the fronts of your legs, while the backs froze. When you went to bed you took either a hot water bottle or an oven shelf from the side oven, wrapped in a bit of old sheet. And you wrapped up well.
Going back to familiarity - I was ashamed when the aga engineer was here yesterday and he asked me to go and turn the oil off at the tank and I didn't know how to do it. He then found it that neither do I know where the stop tap is to turn the cold water off!