Thursday, 14 February 2008

Washday Greens!

Since our family came back to live with us, the washing machine is much in use & I recently stopped to think how difficult it must have been for my mother to do the washing when I was a child.
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!

16 comments:

Retiredandcrazy said...

My mother used to put my blouses through the mangle and pull all the buttons off! The bad old days huh?

Casdok said...

Yes we are very fortunate, yet take it all for granted.

david mcmahon said...

Lucky the whole wash didn't go pink with that accessory! We make it a point to check pockets but coins regularly evade us, as did our son's USB mini-drive!!!

It's a VERY clean mini-drive now!!

Maggie May said...

retiredandcrazy ... Yes, I remember the button problem!

casdok ........nice of you to drop by.

davidm ..... worst thing was when husband left a 3 inch nail in a jeans pocket & it went through the pump!

the mother of this lot said...

I washed a mobile phone last week.

Maggie May said...

That is awful. What an expense!

GoneBackSouth said...

I remember my grandma's old washing machine that she refused to upgrade - it must have been one of the first ones invented - she had to stand there with a hosepipe sticking in the top!

Sniz said...

Nice to meet you! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I love yours as well. Where do you live in the UK?

Beryl Ament said...

And what about the ironing? My mother ironed towels and tea towels, underwear and pyjamas. I suppose a lot of that stuff was all cotton back then and consequently got very wrinkled. Surprisingly, I discovered this Christmas that my sister-in-law still irons her tea towels!

After it was ironed, it still had to be "aired."

I suspect we changed our clothes a lot less often, too.

Thanks for the award, Maggie May. First time I got one.

Maggie May said...

Gonebacksouth ....... yes, I can remember that kind when I was first married. Had to stay with the machine! Those were the days!

sniz...... You could say I live south of Birmingham somewhere. Exact location is my secret on account of the things/people I write about! Hate to think people I know read my stuff! Glad you stopped by. I will be definitely visiting you!

Beryl ament.... Yes the ironing! Mounds of it! My sister in law even irons pant & socks! I must admit that I only do essentials!

Maggie May said...

Can't understand what happened, but my photo disappeared! Luckily, Sam was still here to put it right but if it does that again, it will have to stay that way until afterhe gets home from holiday!

She's like the wind said...

We had a twin tub which wheeled out from under the work surface and my mum used big wooden tongs. I used to fill a basin and wash my baby clothes at the same time. I even had a smaller version of the wooden clothes drier, my mother must have been demented, dealing with washing and an enthusiastic little washer daughter. The memories, aahhhh

Maggie May said...

she'slike the wind ...... we had a Hoover twin tub like that. Had to stay with it & change hoses etc. Looking back, it was not a lot different from the way my Mum had to do it, but we thought it was the cats whiskers in new inventions!

Expatmum said...

OK, OK, I am going to stop complaining about the laundry. I remember the twin tub with the wooden tongs too!
Last week I washed two pairs of jeans both with chap stick (lip salve) in them. What a mess that makes - had to do it all over again and there's still a few grease spots on one pair. I've told her she's still got to wear them though.

Maggie May said...

expatmum ....... oh dear, yes, lip salve would make a mess! I had this site written in draft as you published socks! Thought I'd better hang back!

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