Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Five Loads in two and a half hours!

Well all I can say is “For goodness sake!” 

We had a really close shave.  Michael smelled plastic and thought it was the radiator but actually turned out to be the washing machine which had caught fire and then set the tumble drier alight too!  He then proceeded to put out said fire with water from the hose pipe!  The only thing I can think is that the short circuit thingy had cut out and so he was not electrocuted!  He DID put out the fire, but sadly my machines, one of which was only a year old were ruined.

 Now that was distressing!

However my family having been taught well over the years, mentioned cheerfully that at least they would now be able to have a go with my old mangle and green clean washing machine.  Well, we were able to use the mangle but sadly not my green washing machine as that is currently hidden under all the pile of things for the new (second hand) conservatory.  But we DID get to use the mangle. 

Mimz and Jack got up early… now there is something to mention!!! …… and we set about heating water in my huge preserving pan, truly larger than average.  We got my lovely handmade soap powder and duly sorted the washing into piles.  These piles, of course all housewives know about.  However as we wash usually on cold or 30 degrees most washing can go into the machine no problem.  Anyway we ended up with 5 piles of generous size and Mimz’s face fell as she anticipated her Saturday morning disappearing.  So I used the opportunity, ever willing, to increase both knowledge and breadth of experience.  I mentioned the fact that years ago in living memory of some, washing took all day and was usually done on a Monday, never on a Sunday.  That washing would start early in the morning, with the copper or boiler being heated up, and then started with the white wash.  We talked about what people used before spin driers or even mangles.  

Wringing posts were part of everyday life, and washing often was done communally.  Well at least they could chat while they could work.  Mimz’ face fell further.  She was not impressed by a Saturday morning history lesson or re-enactment.  Her face became more and more gloomy as the animated chat went on.

Not Jack’s though.  Oh no.  He was up for the task and couldn't wait to get on with it.  So we did.  The white wash was being pounded away using the wooden tongs I still owned in the absence of a dolly, and then wrung out to the best of our ability to save the hot water.  It WAS very hot.  

Wooden tongs.... actually I have two pairs,
but the others are in the cupboard.
Aren't they great?

Then over to the mangle.  They were most impressed.  The mangle was super-efficient, just as I remembered it, but I did have to tell Mimz to tie her hair back.  I also remembered having my long hair getting caught in the mangle.  Jack was turning the handle manfully and Mimz was gingerly feeding the rollers one sock at a time!  Well I soon changed that approach and reminded her how much we had to get on and do!  Jack was really impressed and enormously enjoyed using the mangle. Later on more strapping young folk wanted a go too and soon it became something that they had to take turns in.

We washed, mangled rinsed, mangled, rinsed and mangled again until one load was done.  Then Jack had a thought.  How were we to get it all dry?  It was raining outside! Don’t worry says I.  We have the wooden lady! 

Wooden Lady... mine is much older,
darker and more wobbly.
The plastic one?
You don't need to see it.
I dragged it out of the cupboard, and a decrepit plastic one and started to show them how to load it so that all the washing has a chance to dry.   Then, no tea break… Mimz thought she had earned one…. on to all the rest.  We went through the above process for all the wash.  However we were running out of room to dry things, so cheated and asked our neighbour if she would mind putting the towels in her drier.  Thankfully she agreed after commiserating with me on our loss. 

 What utterly amazed Jack and Mimz was that after 2 ½ hours all 5 loads were washed and drying, one way or another.  Now our washing machine takes at a minimum 45 minutes per load.  So that was good going.  Yes it was hard work, and we had to be on top of it all the time, but we got a lot done.

Would I like to do it regularly?  NO!!!  Not unless I had to.  But I could.  And now so could Mimz and Jack.  They have experienced a significant lesson in self-sufficiency and have a vague idea of the sheer physicality of the past work load of women.

What a while ago, was deemed by one at least of my offspring as ‘clutter’ was now seen for the value that it holds in my eyes.  The mangle, my galvanised wash tubs, the wooden tongs etc all are now respected not rejected as ‘junk’. 

My mangle and
galvansied tubs.
 As to my green washing machine!  Well isn't it just the way of it that it couldn't be used when it was needed?  There is a lesson there for me I think!   


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