Looking at clothes pegs

The other day I chanced upon this post about clothes pegs over at whipup. I followed the links and arrived at a post about clothes peg iconography. The pictures are intriguing, who knew there were so many different types of clothes pegs in the world. I keep having to go back and look again. My favourite is the somewhat worn red peg, "perhaps our strangest peg - we have no idea why it is designed the way it is."   Now I see different clothes pegs everywhere. On our line I counted five different types.
I see new ones everywhere now; at my sisters, at mother's group, at the supermarket. I'm probably going to start yet another collection. G said I could have his bamboo peg, if I do. Just what I need, another collection, but I think I will. At least pegs are small.

Below is one of the new pegs I bought last week. Our current pegs are crappy and I've decided to seek a longer lasting peg. These are Italian and look the business. Only blue and white in a pack, not as colourful as the neon ones I've favoured recently. G thinks they're an abomination, being a bit "North Melbourne." Football themed clothes pegs, now there's a niche for the AFL. Maybe on my travels I'll find some old dark navy blue pegs.

Right at the end of my peg exploration this afternoon, I realised how different this yellow one is. We have only one of these. I think the spring is quite elegant.

Lightest! Fastest! More efficient!

I think the first iron I ever owned was one of these. It nearly put me off ironing forever. This ad is from the back of a dressmaking supplement to The Australian Women's Weekly, probably from the late 1950's. The supplement is chock-a-block with full skirted cotton dresses. I can just smell all that ironing.

Also on offer "Get your copy of this helpful laundry and ironing BOOK FREE and learn the secrets of professional ironing and pressing!" The ad promises, "It's a sensational offer! Only Sunbeam has largest stainless steel tank. Scientifically positioned steam vents and channels in the larger ironing surface give an all-over cushion of rolling steam. Super-accurate heat and iron steam control ensures perfect ironing results. " The iron is beautiful in that retro way, but I think I'll keep my modern one. I wish it was as decorative as this one.

Routine, routine, routine

I wrote the other day about how much it annoys me when G does loads of washing outside the routine. It is very pedantic of me, I know. I should just appreciate that he is willingly participating. So I try to hide my annoyance, well once I have explained why it works better my way. I like a routine where the return for effort is maximised and tasks are done in comfortable size chunks, neither piddly little bits or big overwhelming dramas.  This is something I loathe, wet washing left out on the line overnight.
Not only do you have to straighten and sometimes repeg, but it takes up valuable line space for the next mornings wash. If it is really going to rain all day, I put off doing the washing, unless we were running out of clothes. In which case, I would wash only what is needed for the next couple of days and hang things under cover outside and around the house. Then use the dryer of despair to finish drying things off. I spent a good part of Saturday sorting through piles of not quite dry laundry of various kinds. Many piddly bits. Much folding and re-airing. Some explanations were provided. There were no arguments but double handling of any sort really annoys me. That's why I love my routine.

Since when did laundries become pretty?

My laundry is pretty ugly. I admit I fantasise about a pretty one sometimes, and most of those fantasies are pretty retro and involve gingham curtains and such. Maybe because I don't read home decorating magazines or even get into the whole decor thing. So most of my ideas come from old Home Beautiful or funny old books about housekeeping. Therefore I was abit taken aback while cruising the interweb at The Boccante Home and Domicile and saw these.
Well. I never considered that washing machines could be beautiful beyond a kind of utilitarian kind of whiteness. Unless of course they were green and retro, and not at all practical. Not that I'd have something like that in my laundry as I'd find no charm in the extra labour. I once painted an ugly old fridge with hammer finish paint, it looked like a rock in the kitchen. But I never would have considered going that far in the laundry. It's not as if you sit in there and have coffee and biscuits with your friends. So my idea of decor involved the aforementioned gingham curtains and maybe a towel to sit on top of the machine, like my nan had. Now I'm considering the possibility of a more modern look in my ideal laundry fantasy.
However this styling seems all wrong to me. I know it is conceptual and maybe aimed at people who have their washing machine in their kitchen, but curtains and cushions? And potted plants on top of the washing machine?  I'd be thinking a modern but rustic dark wooded table. Some neatly folded piles in muted bright colours. What about a stylish washing basket? And maybe some imagery that hints at the technical promises of the machine. According to the LG website these washing machines are super energy efficient and eliminate ironing by using a cycle that blows steam through the clothes. Oh, beautiful and labour saving!

Early Spring washing

When I started Mrs Washalot in May with this post, I was taken with the sight of rain sodden flannellette sheet and the drops of water and the cold. Taking photos of your washing in the rain is one thing but doing it over and over is another. I am so glad that the winter days when nothing ever dries on the line are over and we can say good-bye to the daily shuffle until next May. It's still cold in the mornings and it hasn't rained as much as it should have but the laundry is getting easier and easier. Even if we did have a little setback this week. But we needed the rain. Of course we did.
Maybe it's also easier because I am not doing it all. I have seriously calculated the number of loads that need to be done, taking into account line space, using less water and electricity, folding tasks and a myriad of other really boring details. The plan is scribbled on a piece of green paper which is stuck on the fridge and I have explained to G what gets done and why. Sticking to a strict plan seems to work on so many levels, even when it rains and I get quite annoyed when G does a load out of routine (I guess there could be circumstances). But it throws out the balance. Anyway on the whole the new system is working and I am doing less of it. Even folding. 


Yah-Boo was a very rude goblin from Tick-Tock village who was given a large sum of money by his old aunt Trippy. One day he went down Smith Street to do some shopping. He wanted to buy a fabulous suit with his new fortune. However, a wizard caught him shouting at a beggar. So the wizard, who was very powerful, directed the wind to whisper in Yah-Boo's ears all the mean and nasty things that he had done and said in the last few months. But sometimes the wind shouted. When Yah-Boo was out in his garden, getting his laundry in, when the wind accused him of stealing a table cloth from Old Mother Tiptap next door. You can see the altercation in progress below.
from The Fifth Holiday Book by Enid Blyton
Old Mother Tiptap demanded her table cloth back. It got nasty, and Yah-Boo had to go back inside, even before he could get all his washing off the line. The wind blew and came into his house down the chimney and kept telling him nasty things about himself. Yah-Boo just couldn't take it anymore and went to stay with aunt Trippy. The wind followed him. After hearing all the things the wind accused Yah-Boo of doing she put him in the rubbish bin. Apparently he may still be there and the washing is still on the line.

More about my sister's Hills Hoist

As I was sitting in a beach chair eating my corned beef sandwich, with Grace at my feet also eating a sandwich, I glanced across at the winding mechanism of my sister's Hill's Hoist and noticed something I've never seen on my clothes line.

I wonder if mine is a fake, or an imitation or even a predecessor. I always assumed our rotary clothes line was a Hill's Hoist. Now I'm not sure. Not that it really matters because it's a lovely old thing and does it's job. Still, now I'm wondering.

On my walk

I know that most standard leases have a clause that tenants are not permitted to hang washing other than on lines provided for that purpose. That would really stink if you didn't have easy access to an outdoor clothes line or if the clothes line provided was insufficent or inconvenient. Or if this prohibition was actually enforced. So it gave me great pleasure to see this while out walking Grace in the stroller.
I felt quite shy snapping this. It is very odd taking a picture of your own washing, let alone some you pass in the street. As we passed the unit, there was more washing hanging on the clothesline provided, which was in the shade. And a man and his son fixing a pushbike in the sun.

On the way home, I saw much washing hanging from the balconies of the flats that dot the area. I think there's something very nice and homey about washing hanging out to dry on sunny sunday afternoon.

Project laundry list has lots of scary information about the banning of outdoor clotheslines from many communities in the US. Makes me think quite differently about the sight of laundry in the front yard or up high.

Spring is near

We've had some really nice weather lately. Sunshine, a little breeze, longer days. I've noticed that doing the washing is becoming a little less stressful. It is more close to dry when I bring it in. Less time shuffling through the dryer of despair or hanging it in doorways to air. I realised today that I haven't used the playpen sides as a drying rack for a couple of weeks. Roll on summer!
Maybe I'm also getting it bit more used to our new washing routine. Perhaps G is also getting used to it too. He has assumed Fridays washing responsibilities while I am at work and he is at home with Grace. It's a full line of washing with a load of nappies and a load of clothes. He did comment the first week, that hanging up all Grace's clothes was time consuming and fiddly, because they are little and there's so many of them. I remember feeling that too, in the early days but now I'm used to it and quick at it.  No complaints this week. I think he also likes the no big-housework-on-weekends theory, which seems to provide motivation to get through the weeks tasks.

Hills hoist envy

This afternoon I put in a couple of hours helping my sister and her man move house. It was so exciting. I love all the possibilities of a new house. Even if it isn't mine. Well actually, it's more exciting than moving myself, because I get to go home to all my stuff where it belongs and a knowlege that the only dirt in this house is our dirt. After 17 years, it would be I think. Anyway, it is a lovely old house with an absolutely delightful laundry and an original Hills Hoist with a matching tin peg pucket. I am quite envious in a big sisterly, so glad they found a good house, sort of way.

Hopefully I'm not in trouble for taking these photos and posting them here, but they are just so in the line of Mrs Washalot.

Splashed by the Dame

Everyone at our house has come down with a cold. Nothing serious but there's a lot of snot and sneezing, coughing and sore throats. And for me, sore eyes. I know that this will mean more washing, partly because Grace seems to need more cuddles and rubs her face against whatever I am wearing which then becomes covered in snot. Charming. Poor little mite, she is the worst affected of all of us. Also it means that I can't really practise laundry minimisation (read wearing things until they are very very dirty) because it's just too disgusting when everyone is sick. And I fear the further spread of germs. So I will be also washing my hands alot, which will probably result in the dermatitis coming back...

So even though this picture doesn't contain any laundry imagery, I thought that the use of hankies was quite apt. It's from a very lovely if somewhat battered copy of The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton first published in 1939. Illustrations are by D M Wheeler who I haven't found any information about. I really like these line illustrations and the texture of the old paper.
I also really like the look of the text. Again, this is a passage that I remember from my childhood. Today I'm thinking of being splashed by the water as an analogy for being touched by the cold germs. As I child, I loved the idea of someone throwing blue water down a tree and creating a waterfall.
In my mind the water also smelt of the blueing liquid that my mother's country cousin used in her washing. I remember their laundry well, but that's another story...   

Too much washing, not enough line

Now that I'm back at work two days a week, that means two days less out of five to complete the washing so we don't have to do it on the weekend. This is my aim, weekends that are more or less free of housework, including laundry.  I think it's a very worthy aim and if I can establish it as habit, it will stand me in good stead when I have to work more days.

Anyway the big flaw in all of this is that I am limited by line space, especially if the weather is crappy. Yesterday I had a lineful that was close to dry. I had packed myself and Grace into the car for a trip to the supermarket. Big spots of rain began to fall. I debated, do I get us out of the car, unlock the house so I can get to the washing and bring it in. Doing so would probably mean that Grace would escape into the backyard and need another pair of trousers on and a nappy change and nap time would roll around and there is nothing in the fridge for dinner or lunch tomorrow. No, it will blow over, I thought.

I was wrong. We had big rain, so I ended up leaving the washing on the line overnight and this morning I had another two loads to do and the previous days washing still wasn't really dry enough to put in the dryer of despair. So I ended up doing a big old shuffle and discovered that I could increase my hanging space by hanging t-shirts on coat hangers on the spokes of the Hills Hoist. I am passionately fond of my Hills Hoist.
So there it is, jam packed. You can sort of see Mum and Grace among the washing. We were talking about various family issues, some good and some not so good. I vented a little. Mum listened and helped me straighten out washing on the line and bring in anything almost dry before our trip to the nursery to buy fruit trees. Mum is much more pedantic about how things hang on the line than I am. Sometimes when she repegs my washing. It's a little irritating and quite endearing all at once.

I iron his shirts because I love him

We have a strange and complicated agreement about who does what laundry tasks in our house. G does his own clothes washing. I do most of the rest although G will do Grace's, a load of nappies or other household washing if it falls to him. But I am squarely in charge of the timetable. When it works, we always have clean clothes to wear and I am not overwhelmed with too much airing and folding at once.

As for ironing, G doesn't. I imagine he could if he had to, but he probably wouldn't see the need in most situations. So I do it for him. Because he's my man and because I like to do things for him. Ironing is something I won't do out of obligation and sometimes if the atmosphere is a bit grumpy it tends to build up. It's not that I don't do it on purpose. Maybe its more that I need help to be able to iron. I can't iron when Grace is running around and I try not to do any housework after dinner. And sometimes when everyone is grumpy, the household negotiation process breaks down somewhat.

As I iron, I see the marks on his collar and tell him to use the laundry spray and I note which shirts are getting a little too shabby and think about maybe buying him some new ones. He's not a man who likes to go shopping. Mostly I look out for good quality shirts in his size when I go to Savers (a big charity shop near us). If they don't fit or if he doesn't like them, I can exchange them. It does seem a bit retro to buy clothes for a grown man, but then so does the division of labour in our house.

G mows the lawn, deals with the car, fixes things that are broke and does quite a lot around the garden. He also does quite a bit inside but like with the washing, I run the timetable. And there are some jobs that he won't do, like folding. Or avoids, like grocery shopping.  Are there many jobs that women get to decide that they won't do? I know I opt out of lawn mowing and I'm not allowed to build anything. But do I withdraw from some tasks only because Gs happy to do them and it's one less thing to think about?

For some reason it seems that laundry is more women's work than any other housework. Why? I know of the odd man who does part of the process, like for example washing and hanging out.  But not others such as folding and putting away. I've heard of quite few who do no part of the process at all and think that that's OK. I've only heard of one man who does the whole shebang, from laundry basket to back in the wardrobe. Apparently, that was his household task, the one thing that he could do while his wife was out working full time and the kids were at school. I can't help thinking that if the situation were reversed, the woman would do the washing and pretty much everything else and would think that that was fair enough. Yet a situation of a man at home and only doing part of the household work is also considered fair. I just don't get it.