Shanks

shank

“Annoying Things

One has sent someone a poem (or a reply to a poem) and, after the messenger has left, thinks of a couple of words that ought to be changed.

One has sewn something in a hurry. The task seems finished, but on pulling out the needle one discovers that one forgot to knot the end of the thread. It is also very annoying to find that one has sewn something back to front.”

From, “The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon” (born approx. 965), Transl. Ivan Morris, Penguin, 1967, 1984.

Shonagon’s annoying things, though now thousands of years old, are very similar to my own. I make a shank when I sew a button on, as my Home Economics teacher taught me to. My buttons never come off. Unfortunately, I must have been absent when we did “positioning the button”. “Spot The Ball” comes to mind. When I was a kid, I used to add my share of X’s to my family’s Spot the football competition entry. We sent our entry off to the Oldham Evening Chronicle every week. We never won.

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