02 March 2008

bright and breezy

Bright and breezy was what the weather woman said. Even through the morning fug, my first thoughts were “good drying day then”. Drying laundry outside is second only to my obsession with the weather itself, to such an extent that even when I am at work I get slightly distressed if I don’t have any washing out on those perfect drying days. I’m not sure what started this obsession. I did not live in a house with a garden until I was nearly thirty, so the multi-sensorial pleasure of drying washing in my own garden – the scent of breeze dried sheets, the flapping of the washing, the satisfying smoothing of it as it comes off the line – were all pretty new to me when I moved here. I still love to look out of the window at the washing blowing.

I am, of course, pretty fussy about my washing – it has to be hung out properly, pleasing to the eye, no dissenting darks in the middle of the whites, although modest stripes are acceptable. The washing in this painting by my friend James passes muster.

My washing fascism does allow coloureds on the line, preferably co-ordinated. I used to have a peg bag, made from some second- hand fabric found in a ragbag, gaudy, spotted handkerchiefs - red and yellow and orange - hanging on a clothesline. It was so much admired by my sister-in-law Karla that I had to let her have it. She told me later that it had inspired her to learn fabric design. You can see one of her much laundered tea towels here with my Mother’s Day new blue teapot (with non-matching grey jug -is there colour blindness in the family?).

But my obsession stops once the washing is done. Ironing is rarely done in this house I relent occasionally, but only in the most exceptional circumstances, weddings, funerals, job interviews. Karla’s pressed shirt wrapping paper is lovely, but pure fantasy as far as I am concerned…

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