bring back wash day!

So now that I’ve aired my feelings on the subject of laundry

…could I propose that we bring back washday?

I looked at the clear sky this morning and then at a rather neglected pile of whites… and then at my sparring little ones – hmmm…the forecast is not good for the rest of the week… How to achieve wash and hang before those bleaching drying sun rays disappear for goodness knows how long?

Embrace the sun, the whites and the children, methinks.

…I conjure some laundry-child links:

Shirley Hughes – I think it’s in Dogger? The page at the beginning where Mummy shows Dave how to wash Dogger… and he never smells quite the same afterwards…

A postcard I have somewhere of a line of teddies hanging out to dry…

Vivid memories of washdays at my Gran’s. Out came the spin dryer, up went Gran’s sleeves and by the afternoon, every inch of hanging space, airing space, had been exploited, every smooth surface, including Gran’s specs, steamed up. Her neat-as-a-pin bungalow turned (shockingly to me at the time) slightly shanty, sort of chinese hand laundry with spin dryer as bonus. I don’t remember a washboard or mangle, but I do remember it took up a whole day and lots of time at the sink. It was a spectacular sensory and spatial transformation.

…and then there is my good friend, Pien, in London, who once recounted to me with relish the washdays of her mother’s circle of friends in Holland – for them it was most definitely a regular social event and one that children were in the bosom of…

So we decided to declare it a washday.

I now realise the ideal weather really is sun, for washing as well as drying. It means the whole exercise can move outside (or at least I realised this after the kitchen carpet got its first dousing). So, one basin each, extra utensils for the smallest laundrymaid. There aren’t any photos of this because my smallest laundrymaid went large scale. There was a bit of pouring and sploshing, but really she felt it her duty to empty out the dirty water…

Elsa the teddy had a really good soaking… and wringing, and all kinds of swedish massage. I just had to remind Rose that she would now be rather wet for cuddling.

…and I got some scrubbing done.

We then retreated for lunch (and to the washing machine).

It was a little late perhaps at 4pm to be hanging out the washing… but at this time of year there’s lots of day and I had willing helpers. Note to self: buy lots more clothes pegs, make peg bag(s). I conveniently tied our second line rather loose, so that has now become Rose’s line.

think Dilys is a bit miffed that she can’t reach yet…



  • The joy of hanging washing out to dry! I missed that living in San Francisco, a world of dryers. Somehow clothes just don’t feel clean unless they are a little crispy. Pien teases me about being very Dutch if I do my laundry on a Monday.

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