The Button Box


This morning Jackie drove me to New Hall hospital for another encouraging physiotherapy session. I had been feeing apprehensive about this one because three weeks ago I stopped taking pain relief or using a crutch. The consequence has been pain which has caused me to skip most exercises. In fact, my progress continues. I can now straighten the leg completely and flex it to 110 degrees – 10 short of the target. The muscles are strong and the hamstrings not tight.

Before setting out we had shared a conversation with Elizabeth reminding me that many of us retain a certain number of items that might come in useful one day, yet never again emerge from the forgotten container in which we have stored them. One such is my

Collars box

Collars box hailing from the days of detachable shirt collars.

From my early days as a single parent I had removed buttons from every worn out item of clothing before binning the garment, and retained these fasteners in case of need as replacements. I had quite a collection which virtually filled this box.

Then along came Jackie and convinced me that I was never likely to use any of them. Clothes today were sold with much more secure buttons, and in any case, always came with replacements. Most of my collection was dispensed with,

Coins, notes, buttons

and the box filled with other knick-knacks including foreign and obsolete coins and Singapore dollars from my Australian trip of 2007.

On just one occasion the button box, and my habit of cutting these items from shirts before throwing them away was to prove beneficial. More than 20 years ago now, I was forced to concede that my favourite shirt was too frayed at the collar and cuffs to be worth saving. I placed it in a waste bin. Mum, who was staying with us at the time, fished out the shirt and, knowing where to seek the buttons, found them all, repaired the cuffs, and turned the collar. That was a pleasant surprise the like of which was to be repeated a month ago.

Some time during the winter, my favourite linen jacket impressed upon me that its collar and cuffs really were too far gone to face another summer. I binned it. Months later, soon after my return from hospital, Jackie amazed me by sitting on the sofa repairing the garment. Unbeknown to me she had retrieved the discarded item, bided her time, bought some suitable bias binding,

Jacket collar and cuffs

and patched the collars and cuffs.

This evening the three of us dined on Jackie’s succulent cottage pie, crunchy carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli. The Culinary Queen drank Beck’s Blue and Elizabeth and I drank Casillero del Diablo Reserva Merlot 2017.