One beautiful day in the English East Midlands city of Leicester, a tired knitwear factory worker meandered home, dreading the load of ironing he knew was waiting for him. He gazed up at the hills, wishing he could tackle his new hobby of rock climbing rather than iron. And then, in a stroke of either genius or insanity, he thought, "why not combine the two?" The result: extreme ironing, the art of doing housework in the great outdoors.

For many, the new sport (if you can call it that) has proven addictive. There are pictures of extreme ironists ironing on top of mountain peaks, under water and in the desert. The sport is simple; carry your ironing board, a travel iron, and your daring self to the most extreme corners of the world. Then iron. Or at least pretend to iron. And take a funny picture.

Beginners are encouraged to start in the safety of their backyards, to get a feel for outdoor ironing. Then maybe scale a small mountain, or go a few yards underwater in scuba gear. In case your cord doesn't reach up the mountain, there are a number of portable options for extreme ironists who believe in the inviolable truth that the iron must be hot in order to be effective. Some take generators with them. Battery operated irons are being developed, and an extreme ironist in Germany has been dabbling with using geothermal energy: he wants to plug into geothermal vents in the wilderness but it's still a (dangerous) work in process.