Throw-away Lines

IMG_1024 Both my grandfathers signed up for Highland regiments and survived WW1.

As a child, I have a memory of watching my maternal grandmother, ironing on her wooden board in the kitchen and her telling me that the worst ironing job was my grandfather’s kilt when he was home on leave from the Front. This was a confusing idea for me. I’d seen how a  kilt was made.

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 “The lice in it, “she explained. “I had to use the iron, pressing hard up and down the seams on his kilt . You’d hear the crunching as you ironed. Then, it was out to the wash-house, lots of soap, and some would float out then. But it was after the kilt had dried on the line, I’d poke them out each folded seam with a knitting needle.  It took a while. Then I’d press the kilt for him and off he’d go back to the war.”

My aunt knows more family history than I ever will. As a daughter –in-law, she was close to my father’s shy parents, and is a great talker. On the phone this week, I asked about what she knew about my paternal grandfather’s experiences in WW1.

 “Oh …  “ she said. “It was never talked about at home,” she sighed. “It was all too terrible“ Then she giggled, and quipped “He and a mate chipped in and bought a monkey when they were in France. “

“Why, for goodness sake?” I asked. Still laughing, she replied. “It picked the lice off their kilts!”

That line has haunted me since. I see a little, nervous monkey, among the horrors of war, picking away at tartan seams.

Have you ever had a throw-away line grab you like that?

All text and photos by Meg

Story Twigs …! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Glue for the job

I find myself fixing broken things around the house. I take pride in that.

One Christmas a friend gave me a box of tools. It worked. I bought an electric drill and a new spade and I was all set. I could fix most things on my own. Except when it came to gluing broken pieces together … which was the right glue for the job?

IMG_0994 Stop and think. Story – there’s a story by Richard Kennedy called “The Porcelain Man” I have his permission to tell it, and have done so for years. In it, there’s a girl kept shut away from the world, by a harsh father. (My own father’s explanation whisper in my head “I was only trying to protect you.”) And the girl spent all day inside, mending broken things, so her father could sell them. “That was how they made their living…”

Now for some reason, I’ve always made a strong point of her having the specific type of glue for different kinds of material  … I found my own solution several years ago … no … not super glue, but a multi-purpose glue that sticks anything together, but not skin.

Multi-purpose

 Stories are like that – for me, they glue the different bits and pieces of my life together and make sense, so I understand, and can get on with living.

 This blog is dedicated to the stories, I find and you find, everywhere.

All text and photos by Meg

Story Twigs …! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.