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Monday, January 18, 2010

My washing over the years

With the hot weather recently I've been doing some extra washing - winter blankets and clothing that may have seemed clean when put away but so I know it IS clean if I need it in a hurry have been given another wash.

Hanging it all out reminded me of a post I wrote a couple of years ago about washing

Hope you don't mins if I repost it today - the first three comments are from the original posting

Washing over the years

Not sure what made me think about it but bringing in the clothes this afternoon I thought of all the different places I’d hung our washing.

As a child we had the long line from one end of the garden to the other.

Before Mum got a machine the clothes were wrung by hand and weighed a ton so there was the big pole with a bit cut out to hold up the line and stop it sagging.

My granny in Belfast as well as other relations had long lines but also had one of these fabulous contraptions to help take most of the water out of the clothing.

When we visited I would watch them put sheets through and hope the cousin who had to feed them in didn’t get their fingers caught. Scared the daylights out of me and I couldn’t wait to go home as I thought I’d be asked to do it as well. Of course being a visitor that never happened lol

She also had one of these lovely things hanging up on the ceiling of her kitchen. Mum thought they were common and said we’d never have one in our house lol

I did get one for a house we had in England and it was marvellous in the winter. I'd hang children's clothes there overnight and most would be dry in the morning. Really economical as the heating would do all the work. I believe they are making a come back as people ar turning away from tumble driers.

I’ve had long lines in a lots of houses and have walked the length of many a garden.

I love it when we visit rellies in Nova Scotia as they have their long lines attached to a pulley system so that they don't even have to leave the comfort of the house to hang their washing out.

One cousin has a window opening that the line goes through and just opens it, hangs the washing on the line moving it along as she needs more space and then closes the window when its all hung. sorry no picture but how neat is that!!

But to me the most novel way I have had to hang my washing out was when we lived in Singapore.

This was about 1964 and we lived in a block of flats and like everyone else there our washing hung on long bamboo poles out over the street just like these.

Don’t believe me – then look at this photo.

On the Amah's day off - with 3 young children it was me who threaded the washing on to the pole and leant over the edge to poke it in the hole on the other side of those iron bars :))
Nowadays I have a rotary clothes line, but we did have a metal Hills Hoist strong enough for the kids to hang on and pull each other round, unfortunately it came to grief when a tree fell on to it in a storm so we put up a newer version.
These photos were taken a few years ago when I was rearranging some of the garden beds.

As well as washing other things like to perch on the wires - heres a couple of visitors we had one day.
Yes the infamous Kookaburra came to visit ...................they stayed there for ages and I managed to get right underneath them to take pictures:))

Its been raining again this evening but not very heavy, we live in hope. At least the washings up to date so it can rain as much as it likes :)))


  1. Hi Cathy
    I have one of those hangers that you have on the kitchen ceiling but I use it to store my pans etc. I am always afraid our love of spicy food will make my washing smell funny!
    Hope you had a lovely Easter

  2. I couldn't believe it when I read a news story about someplace in the United States going to vote on whether they could hang their washing outside again. They were trying to repeal the law against it!

    Good grief! What has the world come to? A law against hanging up your washing?

    Here's the question - were you afraid that your laundry would fall off of the bamboo pole and into the street below?

  3. I am in the US and I can attest to the fact that there are numerous neighborhoods in the cities that have what are known as HOA's. A particular builder builds an entire neighborhood and to keep the homes at the top level for re-selling they maintain rules that homeowners must agree to in writting. There are many variances on the rules so I'll just list a few. Yes, hanging laundry is one of them.
    Front garden plans must be approved by the HOA (home owners association).
    No cars parked in the driveway, they must be parked in the garage or on the street.
    Garage doors must be kept closed at all times unless the car is being parked or taken out.
    All fencing must match the rest of the fencing in the neighborhood.
    There are tons more and I think most are ridiculous but some people like knowing that they are living in a neighborhood where their investment will remain just that, an investment.

  4. I remember my mother using a wringer washer and hanging the clothes out on a clothesline, in the winter we would laugh at the frozen clothes on the lines! I bet my mother didn't though, especially when she needed a large amount of diapers each day to use! I always hung my clothes outside until I finally got a dryer. I try to use a drying rack as often as possible to save energy. Nothing like sheets dried in the warm sunshine! One day I came home from work to find my clothesline in the mud with all the clothes helter-skelter. I just about cried!

  5. Hi Cathy.. Oh how i remember the old wringer washing machines and helping Mum, before the washer we had a wringer attached to the old cement troughs and it was my job to wring the clothes as mum got them out of the copper.. and yes we also had a long line from one side the yard to the other and the forked prop to hold the cloths of the ground..i hardly ever use my dryer i have ahills clothes line under the back veranda which i use summer and winter only use the hills hoist in back for heavy towels and large bed linen..

  6. Dear Cathy ~~ It is so nice to meet you. Thanks for leaving a comment and coming from Pea's blog. Her we both live in Victoria and had to meet from a mutual friend in Canada.
    Now, Jeanette I know personally.
    I have read a lot of your posts and they are so interesting and I can relate to many of them.
    I am glad you enjoyed my jokes and the Churchill quote, and I hope you will visit again, my new friend. Take care, my new friend,
    Love, Merle.

  7. I enjoyed this post. Yes, it is true there are communities in Canada and the United States where they ban hanging the washing out. So déclassé! Well with the increased concern for the environment these silly regulations are being successfully challenged.

    I have two lines on pulleys about 50 feet long from my back door. I try to hang my washing out summer and winter, (It is a challenge to do it in very cold weather.) One of the simple pleasures in life is to get into a bed with fresh linen dried outside. I am surprised you do not have pulley system lines in Australia. When you visit Canada next you must take back the hardware to put one up. Start a trend in your neighbourhood.

    I like the drying rack from the ceiling. I just may make one. Mine is a large working farm type kitchen, not some suburban designer kitchen, and I already have a pots and pan rack over the wood cookstove so a drying rack would not be out of place.

    Our homes have basements here. In the US in parts they do not have basements. One trick in the Winter is to string lines in the basement to dry the clothes.

    Some people have the arrangement you mentioned where the line comes into a closed in verandah or mud room. (an unheated room where you can take off your heavy winter clothes before entering the house) This is great in our Winters to hang out our laundry in relative warmth and comfort. This is a real classy arrangement.

    I have a friend in the US who just loves to do her washing outside.She has a ringer as you show which is positioned between two wash tubs, (wash and rinse tube). You can still purchase them in a store in the US that caters to the Amish community and those interested in alternative life styles. They have lots of interesting old time stuff.
    Happy laundering!

  8. I would love one of the clothes dryers you hang on the ceiling in the kitchen, but they are so expensive nowadays.

    I too have a whirly gig (last photo) that I hand my washing out on. Hopefully in another couple of months, I'll be back to hanging out my washing again.

    Gill in Canada


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