Cotton Reels

          There are road works on the way into work again.  I think they must be putting some sort of cables underground this time and the waste product is these huge wooden  wheels.  They made me think of giant cotton reels.

2013-09. Cotton reels.

          I didn’t have time to stop and take a photo last night, quite apart from the disappearing daylight I was walking on a time limit, this one was taken on my way home this morning.

          Last night my mind kept ticking over as I walked into work.

          You don’t get your cotton on wooden cotton reels any more, they’re all plastic, lightweight flimsy things. The old wooden ones were so much more fun.  Apart from the obvious building blocks they turned up in our house in numerous places and as many different things.  My dad once made one into a wind-up tank using an elastic band, a slice of candle and a pencil. I think my favourite was a knitting dolly where you had to wind wool around four nails on the top and by looping the wool over itself and the nails a knitted tail would come out through the hole at the bottom.  The tail would continue to grow until it was long enough to be made into bracelets or necklaces, or coiled and sewn to itself.  The endless list of things you could make was only limited by your imagination.

          I remember playing with my Nana’s cotton reels, they were skewered onto thick knitting needles with corks on the end.  I used to take them all off and arrange them by the different colours and sizes.

          My mind wandered to the corks stuffed on the end of the needles.  They weren’t the kind of corks you would pop out of a champagne bottle, nor a wine bottle come to think of it.  They were hard rubber corks with holes already made through them.  I’ve seen them since, still a long time ago, but more recent than when playing with the cotton reels.  My Dad was using them behind the settee.

          Now being my Dad, much like his Dad before him, there’s an unlimited number of uses for practically everything but I think these rubber corks behind the settee were actually being used for what they were made for.  He was making wine in huge bottles, I think they were called demijohns, and these rubber corks held a tube in the top attached to a contraption a bit like sink plumbing but smaller, to let the fermenting sugar gasses out without letting the flies in.

          That was about it, my feet had taken me to work on their own while my brain was engaged elsewhere, if there had been more time my mind might have possibly made the next link to elderberry wine and climbing trees and picking elderberries using an umbrella with a hooked handle to reach higher, but it didn’t.   Maybe next time.


3 thoughts on “Cotton Reels

  1. I like those wooden cotton reels too. I can’t remember making things out of them – I’m not sure. I do remember making wine however with the demijohns, corks and the glass-made plumbing contraption where the gasses would be released!

    Nice memories.

  2. Pingback: Thanks Dad | Photographic Memories

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