Monday, August 16, 2010

No washday blues here

I love hanging washing out on the line! Perversely, whenever I've lived in a place with no outside line (including the place we were in for the past year), one of my most hated domestic chores was hanging washing on indoor airers. C used to say it showed in the rushed and haphazard way the clothes were flung on, usually in a way that meant drying would take longer because everything was so bunched up. He usually acted as the washing fairy and sorted it all out.
Pegging out a wash on the line though, that's a different story. I find it calming and meditative in a similar way to knitting- maybe because in a similar way you can feel a connection to women from generations back, carrying out the same ritual to care for their household. Plus of course, you're outside in fresh air, ideally sunshine and a breeze, which can't fail to induce a bit of cheer.
I know I'm waxing on a bit, but there's something so life affirming about seeing washing hanging out. When you go to, or see pictures of, places where washing lines are strung between buildings or on balconies its like signal flags saying 'Life is going on here! People come home to this place and wash their clothes!' I remember when we first brought P home after his short stay in Special Care. Hanging the first load of tiny clothes out felt like putting out bunting to celebrate and tell the world we had a new arrival.
Due to a technical hitch involving hot and cold inlets on our washing machine (don't ask) we spent the first week or so in our new place with a washing line taunting me outside, but nothing to do washing in- handwashing was not an option with everything else going on. This was more than a little bit trying, especially with my limited wardrobe (most maternity stuff is too big, while a lot of pre-bump stuff is still too small) being regularly burped up on by M, plus her burped-up on clothes and those of the two boys enthusiastically collecting grubbiness in one way or another. More than that, I wanted to get washing to feel that we were really living here. Like cooking our favourite meals in the new kitchen, it's a root-sinking exercise. Which of course, I'm now doing regularly, especially in this perfect drying weather. Hang out the flags!

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