I was surprised to learn that in some parts of Canada and US clotheslines are banned! I haven't heard of that happening here yet but we all know that where America leads England tends to follow. I'm getting my "Hands off my washing line!" placard ready, just in case. My first thought on a warm, breezy day is how much laundry can I get washed and out to dry? It would be a brave official who would try to stop me!
You might wonder, as I did, at the idea of a clothesline culture. Don't people just put their washing out to dry in the sun? Believe me, after reading just a few pages of Fine Lines, I realised that the how and where of laundry drying is embedded in our cultural identity. I don't intend to spoil the book for would-be readers but I am going to pick out a few aspects of clothesline culture to explore here over the next few days. Do join me with your own memories and observations.
|Nappy drying service at Butlin's holiday camp 1955|
My cottage garden is too small for a proper washing line so I now have a rotary line that can be packed away in the garage when not in use and I have a tumble dryer and the Aga for those wet days.
My mother had very precise ways of hanging out the washing. It was sorted and folded and put in the basket in the order it was to pegged on the line. The basket was carried out into the garden with the bag of pegs and a damp cloth for wiping the line - skipping that would lead to trouble if she found a dirty mark on a shirt or sheet. Next time I'll look at pegs and how the clothes were hung out to dry.