Some of my earliest memories are of helping with this chore. Watching my mum carefully as she prepared the line, pulling it taught as she went, the intricate weaving of the rope around the poles to secure it. Handing out colourful plastic pegs , making her wait patiently while I searched for ones that matched, 'helping' her carry the wooden clothes pole to prop up the sagging line.
Then I would watch as the laundry would put on a show depending on the weather. Sunlight bouncing off the brilliant whites, blouses gaily waving in the gentle breeze, the snap of sheets in the strong wind as they fought for freedom from the line. When everything was dry I would help gather them into the waiting basket, being the extra pair of hands required to fold the sheets, never quite getting the folding direction right first time!
And oh, the smell of clothes that have been dried outside, a clean, fresh smell that no laundry product will ever truly be able to imitate. Then the rope would be loosened and I would watch in awe as my mum would wind it round her arm between thumb and elbow then neatly wrap the end around the middle. It took me years, and many tangled ropes, to get that action right.
|The joys of back to school laundry|
I get the same sense of satisfaction now as I did then, probably more so because it is my washing, my line, although I did give up on the colour co-ordinated pegs. I'm just not sure whether the warm fuzzy feeling I get as I glance out at the laden rope is about the washing and a job well done or more about the memories it conjures.
What's that? What about the ironing? Ah..., well..., that's another matter entirely......