Washing Lines

The weather has been typical of March, days of gorgeous blue skies and sunshine, days of blustery gales and rain drumming against the windows. It’s been mild enough to go out with just a jumper, chill enough to have heavy coats and scarves – and gloves if I could find any. I bought a new pair some time last year, inadvertent buying a large size so the ends of the fingers flapped, but they were lined and woolly and warm. Then I misplaced them somewhere at home (no doubt they were with the three warm hats which have also disappeared) found one, and put it somewhere safe, but of course when I found the other it had disappeared. To keep this one secure I put it in my sock drawer, and before it could escape, I did find the other in a pile of laundry waiting to be ironed. I now have two gloves, which match, even though they are too big.

When we’ve had lovely days, I’ve taken advantage and done the washing and hung it out. It hasn’t really been warm enough to dry completely, but dried enough and freshened by the spring air so it can be ironed and put on clothes horses. For some reason, over recent weeks, as I’ve hung the washing out, little odd lines of something poetic have sprung into my mind, words about what I’m doing and how cold or not it is, about the birds I can hear, and other noises – the neighbours are having a big new garage built and there has been all the associated sounds of that, from cement mixers, to hardcore being dumped on the drive, to the roofers chatting and singing along with the radio. There’s no scent of flowers yet because there are no flowers, but there are the delicious smells of another neighbour’s cooking. I would love to eat the meals she cooks! She cooks the most delicious curries – I know they are delicious even though I have never tasted them because i can smell all the different spices and the garlic and onions, and the herbs, my mouth is just about watering as i stand there, pegs and wet washing in hand.

As well as what I see (skies, clouds, birds, plants and shrubs and trees beginning to rouse themselves from winter’s rest) and hear and smell, there’s action. It’s been windy so I’ve had to battle with the sometimes recalcitrant rotary clothes line trying to spin away from me, or flapping it’s line so I can’t get the pegs on securely. The wind doesn’t help trying to tug the washing away – I know it wants to distribute it round the neighbourhood or wind it round me, or blow sheets over my head. The pegs themselves, small though they are, don’t always want to open or spring apart into pieces, and the washing also has a mind of its own.As well s that it has been very frosty and sometimes my hands are absolutely numb and the cold biting – this of course means that as soon as I get back inside I need a cup of coffee.

If these jottings of my washday struggles ever come to anything, which I am sure they won’t, then I do have a title, Washing Lines!

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