Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Washing Day

We bought a couple of maidens. You know, those folding clothes rack thingies. And we've set them up in the spare bedroom which used to be Joe's and I'm pleased to say they work. You drape clothes over them and in a couple of days the clothes are dry. The tumble dryer, you see, was costing us way too much money. Costing energy too and destroying the planet. 

When I was a kid my mother had a clothes rack that hung from the kitchen ceiling- you winched it up and you winched it down- and on a Monday or a Tuesday- whichever was washing day- you ate your meals with the week's washing hanging over you- like flags.

And she had an early washing machine. It was a big upright tank. You filled it with soapy water and it had paddlewheels in its side that rotated and beat the contents. It filled the whole house with a dank, faintly acidic smell. 

Did we have an outside clothes line? I'm not sure. Hang on. Yes, I can picture it now. It was strung across the yard to the side of the house. The yard was well-screened so as not to offend the neighbours. We were middle-class, see, and- well- you kept your laundry out of sight. The yard sagged in the middle and in wet weather there was a big puddle where I used to sail small plastic boats and spash about in my wellies. There's a snap of me and my girlfriend Valerie- both of us just beyond the toddling stage-  standing beside the puddle with fishing rods. I can see it in my mind's eye.  I believe my coat has a velvet collar.

No need for the maidens today; the sun is shining and that's been rare this summer; I put a load of clothes on early this morning and they'll be going outside to dry. In fact they're going right now. I've just heard the clink which means the coin I washed by mistake has fallen to the bottom of the drum and the final spin cycle  is done. 

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