If You Can`t Beat Them...

by Mark Robinson

"It's just not the same anymore, you know. It's all machines, machines, machinesthere's simply no place in the 'modern' world for craftsmanship." Rodney rolled the large tailor's sewing needle lovingly between his forefinger and thumb.

"Mmmmm," said his wife.

"No, the world has moved on and the old skills will soon become a thing of the past. Do you realise," Rodney continued, "that I haven't taken on an apprentice since Harry for nine yearsnine years! I suppose that must make me as guilty as anyone else. Once I've gone, and God knows there are so few of us left who can do it by hand, it'll all be over. No one will know a blanket stitch from a running stitch, a quality thread from the mass produced rubbish they're churning out these days."

"Mmmmm," said his wife.

No, listen, really listen to what I'm saying. What will it all have been for, hey? When I started I had as thorough a grounding in becoming a master tailor as I could possibly have wished for. Lord could Mr. Jenkins sew! These machines may be consistent and pretty, but there was real life in his workand quality don't talk to me about qualityclothes nowadays seem to fall apart as you're getting them out of the carrier bag. Not Jenkins' work, oh no, in fact this jacket here is one of his. Just look at that workmanship and still going strong."

Rodney rethreaded the needle.

"There's just no commitment nowadays, no loyalty, no desire to uphold the old values. It's so, so sad."

He pulled the thread through until he was happy with the double length.

"Mmmmm," said his wife.

" You know that this is the last of my Indian twine. I've been saving it, putting off using it until nothing else would do. Once it's gone that's it. Hmph," he snorted as he slowly shook his head. "One more thing gone foreverno more twine, no more quality, no more reason to go on conning myself that there's a future worth having."

"Ah well, here goes," he added nostalgically as he bent down to begin work.

"Mmmm," his wife said, desperately trying to speak through the neat stitches that joined her lips.

"I hope that Harry and you will be very happy together," Rodney murmured as the needle broke through the skin on Harry's arm before passing into his wife's.

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