Part One: laundry
That wet laundry sitting there has been waiting to be hung for three days.* Never mind, I am writing the blog. That load of laundry in the washing machine has been waiting for you to add soap & turn it on for three days.** Never mind, I’m writing the—WAIT A MINUTE. Adding soap & turning the machine on takes a minute.*** Deal with it. Um.†
There are perhaps existential reasons for my strange reluctance to turn the washing machine on. Why in the name of all that’s unholy, does my frelling washing machine play, if you want to call it playing, the first few bars of Schubert’s Die Forelle as its alert that your load of washing is done? WHY? Why Die Forelle? & why, having massacred one of my favourite lieder††, does it end with a weird little jerk & twiddle straight out of one of those kids’ nursery rhyme songs that make you think maybe the continuation of the species is not worth the effort??
* * *
* I had people dying of laughter all over the landscape for some reason when I posted about this some years ago. One of those standard tropes about people who don’t do housework is how long wet laundry sits in the washing machine, at least for those of us UK residents who don’t have a tumble dryer^, & how long you can afford to leave it before it starts to smell funny. Hmmph. If you get it out of the washing machine promptly & put it in something like a wicker basket—ie something with holes in it—&, you know, give it a heave occasionally so different bits of wet are differently arranged, it never does smell funny. This is a perfectly straightforward Practical Tip for Living! I don’t see why it is so hilarious!
For better or worse, sitting in its basket, it dries. It dries in interesting shapes. & if, as a staunch non-housework-doer you have no idea where your iron even is^^ & your ironing board is holding up some shelving in the pantry & is doing yeowomanly work where it is & is not to be disturbed, you have a different problem. My new-for-this-house^^^ washing machine has a setting called ‘refresh’, which is twenty minutes of a quick spray of water & a whirl. Your laundry is now dampened nicely & ready to go on that clothesrail & hang out into more or less the correct shape.#
Of course you can also just shove it back into its wicker basket & . . . this unfortunate rota can go on quite a long time, till all your dirty-laundry receptacles are brimming over, including the top of the washing machine which is now rickled higher than the shelf the laundry soap is on, & you’re starting to run out of base layers. But you only remember you’re running out of base layers while you’re upstairs getting dressed. You’ve FORGOTTEN by the time you get downstairs again, & trip over the basket full of semi-wet laundry.
^ or committed off-the-grid types who run their computers on solar power but feel that a tumble dryer is soulless luxury too far
^^ it might be with the replacement dark green All Stars I suppose
^^^ the old Hampshire one I believe disintegrated into component atoms when the removal men tried to extract it. They don’t make washing machines like they used to.
# A few wrinkles never hurt anyone. Thus speaks the woman who works from home, & whose every garment is covered in white & dark-liver-brown dog hair.~
~ Yes of course there will be photos of the dog with the hair as soon as I’m snuggled into a Blog Host Thing & Blogdad has taught me how to do stuff there.
** This is where the rota referred to above is finally interrupted. Either I get the current soggy cumulus on the frelling overhead airer . . . or I will be wearing Strangely Shaped garments for one-load’s-worth of stiff dry laundry. Or, of course, there may be two laundry baskets of lumpy wetness, double the fun, double the opportunities to trip over one. This happens occasionally. Especially the tripping part.
*** Supposing I can find the soap. See previous footnotes.
† Of course you’re panting to know what stage of laundry ops I’m in in right now? Of course you are. Nothing can be more thrilling than a detailed description of a Grand Matriarch’s laundry transactions.
I’m in one of those is-a-bigger-house-really-an-advantage situations. The airer back in my tiny Hampshire cottage was in the bathroom, & the bathroom was befittingly tiny. In the first place the airer itself was small, with short slats, because that’s what would fit. In the second place, if you needed the loo, the airer HAD to be cranked up overhead^ or you couldn’t get there.
Here, the airer rails themselves are better than twice the length, the full width of the large, beautiful^^ kitchen. These cause their own problems, since they twist back & forth & flail up & down to some arcane philosophy of their own with no apparent relevance to physics, aerodynamics or practical engineering^^^. But the airer in its entirety, when let down to put laundry on or take laundry off, while it’s a giant pain in the face, forehead & shoulders, doesn’t actually prevent you from doing anything else. Like, you know, getting to the loo.
I lowered the airer this morning because I HAD ABSOLUTELY RUN OUT of white rollneck shirts, which are a base layer from about mid-October to mid-March. I even went so far as to haul all the other white base-layer stretchy cotton shirts off the rails where they had been for a while.# Yes, there is a basket of wet laundry waiting.## Of course. I got the jeans up because they take the longest to dry . . . oh, gibbering gibbering, look at the time, I HAVE to get Genghis out.
That was several hours ago. The laundry basket is still sitting half-full by the door into the utility room, & every time I need to go in there I am whacked in the face by wet blue jeans.
^ & even so, climbing in & out of the bath, you would be at least temporarily blinded by laundry
^^ FULL OF STUFF~
~ I had this silly idea of having a new category in the new web site, called Things I Do When I Should Be Doing Something Else.
No, on second thought, I’m not going even to start on this. Except to say there’s a table under the airer that is . . . full of stuff.
^^^ I know so much about all these topics.
# NOT THAT I’VE FOLDED THEM OR ANYTHING. ANOTHER RICKLE FOR ANOTHER TIME.
## Only ONE basket! Only ONE! In the third place there was only ROOM for ONE load of laundry to be hung up in Hampshire. & let me tell you if you have, ahem ahem, let’s say three loads of laundry on the airer rails here, GOOD LUCK CRANKING THE THING BACK TO THE CEILING, WET LAUNDRY WEIGHS.
Of course I do have these shoulders as a result of the dog-wrestling thing. But the rope takes the skin off my hands. Arrrrgh.
†† I even sing the freller, if you want to call it singing. But then I sing Stride la Vampa too. If you want to call it singing.^ But, a mad murderous gypsy? I’m so there. So many of opera’s lead female singers are dreary little wets who, yeah, they sing great, but they just diiiiiiie because their men folk are so mean. Give me someone with agency. Even if it’s agency you don’t really want to condone.
^ I’m taking voice lessons again. You don’t want to know. But I’ll probably tell you anyway. But I won’t sing.~ I promise.
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