A La Recherche du Temps Perdu

My memory of my childhood is quite sketchy. Before the ages of about 7 or 8 years old I have only a handful of images I can consciously call upon. One of the most interesting ones came back to me one night in a dream a few years ago – the building where I first attended school appeared to me during a dream, rendered in bird’s eye, 45 degree axonometric.

The other lasting memory involves an iron, a hall carpet with a crease and me, at about 6 years old, determined to do my mother a favour and get rid of the offending uneveness. I can still picture the resulting brown triangle of singed polyester carpet; my mother’s voice wafting down the stairs as she begins to get suspicious of the silence…

All this, and more, was relived this morning when a fellow LUG member sent me a link to a website called carpet-burns.com. By melting the surface until it becomes stiff, carpet-burns use recycled carpet to make various objects such as drinks trays, bags and plant pots. I like it. Craft that focuses on the recycled ideology and aesthetic can often be a little shabby – sometimes intentionally, sometimes unavoidably. From the look of the pictures on the web site, the products by carpet-burns are well finished and nicely detailed. I’m going to check out the price list and start saving.

The logo, however, is like a piece of my history calling to me. The unmistakeable outline of the underside of an iron.

To complete the experience, a few minutes later as I climbed into the car to drive to work (thereby undoing most of the good work done by carpet-burns to save the planet), with the acrid smell of part of my childhood still filling my nostrils, I heard an announcement that Radio 4 will be broadcasting a dramatisation of Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time this weekend.

I wonder if Proust ever had any trouble with an uneven carpet.

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