I remember she used to have to get up very early on a Monday morning & light a large gas boiler that she had previously filled with buckets of cold water. I used to watch her grate up a hard bar of Fairy household soap. She filled "dolly tubs"to rinse the whites with. She used to scrub & sluice off the dirty hankies in the old stone sink.
Between boiling & rinsing everything had to be mangled carefully & again after the last rinse. Mangling was a hazardous task as you could scald yourself from the boiler & squash fingers in the mangle. Then there was starch to make up & certain things had to be dipped into it.
A whole weeks washing would need to be dried somehow. On a fine day, out on the washing line in a yard or garden. Sometimes the line would snap & the washing would be dirty again. On a wet day it all had to be draped round an open fire on a "maiden" which was a kind of wooden clothes horse, sometimes taking days to dry. Then the mammoth task of ironing. What a palaver!
However the smell of the hot washing coming out of the boiler is one of those never to be forgotten smells ............ a smell of wholesome goodness that even now sends me into a state of nostalgia when I remember it. Funny how you can "remember" a smell!
I am really glad that I do not have to face all the hard work that my mother had to.
The children are always secretly slipping strange objects into the washing that are not usually found until the programme has ended. I recently found a bright green, very clean looking "my little pony"that sprang from some item of clothing, startling me with the unexpectedness of it. Not long after that, I pulled out a soggy heart shaped note book and a little red glass heart, both treasures that had escaped my pre wash search. I consider myself very lucky that the red felt tee shirt from a Bratz doll did not colour the whole wash pink!
But by far the strangest thing that could ever have messed up a wash was found in Amber's trouser pocket, before it even went in. A raw, green Brussels sprout! As no one in the house likes Brussels sprouts, where it came from we will never know!
Maybe she goes to Sainsbury's when we are not looking!