Treat umbrellas kindly…

As a post script to Ruth Drew’s advice on cleaning umbrellas, particularly silk ones (I didn’t know there were silk umbrellas) I share further thoughts from her on looking after your brolly. Just thinking about umbrella reminded me of various stories where they play an important role… with people concealing things in them, using them as weapons, using them as a distraction – and who could forget Sairey Gamp in Martin Chuzzlewit? She even for a while gave her name to umbrellas.

I came across these other novels featuring umbrellas

  • Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe
  • Howards End, by EM Forster 
  • Father Brown stories, by GK Chesterton 
  • Amerika, by Franz Kafka 
  • Winnie the Pooh, by AA Milne 
  • Mary Poppins, by PL Travers 
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, by CS Lewis 
  • The End of the Affair, by Graham Greene 
  • Umbrella, by Ferdinand Mount 

… and you can find out more here:

However, back to Ruth Drew; this is the time of year when umbrellas come into their own, and when you come home with the poor things sodden and dripping this is what you should do:

Don’t forget to treat umbrellas kindly. It is not a good idea to leave even a damp umbrella rolled up, let alone a sopping wet one. Unless yours is a nylon umbrella, wet will rot the fabric – and seep through and rust the spokes. So a good shake is what’s needed – even for the nylon kind – and then a little time to dry with the spokes open.

One thing which afflicts damp umbrellas left to dry all rolled up is smell – a nasty musty almost foetid smell will develop, and then envelop you next time you’re walking along beneath it in the pouring rain…



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