The Button-Hook and the Thimble


They planned a Sewing Bee competition on TV which, if its pilot worked well, would later be produced regularly in rivalry to its cooking equivalent of Master Chef.

Despite being a man,  John had decided to audition for the Sewing Bee, especially in view of the fact that, as a small child, an only child, he was taught knitting by his Nanna.  He tried to remember the long afternoons that quickly stretched into darkness before tea time – learning the art of casting-on, purl, plain, cable and, eventually, casting-off.

It was only after his Nanna’s final casting-off, as it were, that he determined to convert his loneliness into even longer days of not only knitting but also sewing on buttons and, later, the running-up of skirts for a girl friend he hoped one day he might meet and love – followed by  the more difficult skill of tailoring trousers to help his budget.  In the latter, he needed to ensure that the ‘fly’ went from right to left over the zip rather than left to right … or had he got that the wrong way round?

Sooner or later, years ago but closer to now, he had ventured on all sorts of activities, culminating with the intricate skill of quilting in all manner of whizz-bang designs in various shades of purple, indigo, mauve and violet.

Later rather than sooner, John met his first girl friend at a rather up-market needle circle. She had connections with the forthcoming Sewing Bee on TV, her Father being the programme’s Producer. She had the cute habit of waving around an old-fashioned hook for unpicking decayed stitches in old buttons or for fastening high boots – and, also, she often sported a decorative thimble on one of her fingers just for show.

The day of the TV audition duly arrived and she introduced John to her Father during a private party at an expensive restaurant. It turned out that her Father gestured during conversations with a button-hook of his own, while preening his hair with a thimbled finger. Then John glanced around at the rest of the guests in the select restaurant who also wielded button-hooks. Some even utilised them in intricately cooperative ways to pick up — much in the manner of chopsticks — morsels of food and they preciously sipped absinthe or rare China teas from their ad hoc thimbles as vessels.

As chefs wandered in and out from the kitchen, John suddenly felt hot. This was a dream, no doubt, as he felt searing beams of light upon the top of his head from the high ceiling.  He almost fainted. And close to the corner of one eye he felt a tiny prick…

He never discovered whether he passed the audition. Or whether he eventually had won the TV Sewing Bee itself, assuming he had passed the audition in the first place. Probably, as is common with most Reality TV, there was a lot of needle among the various contestants.

1 Comment

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One response to “The Button-Hook and the Thimble

  1. The above is a revised version of the speed-writing exercise I did last night with a random title at the Clacton-on-Sea THIRD THURSDAY writing-group.

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