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Wednesday, 13 March 2013

My Beautiful Laundrette

Today has been homesteading day. House duties completed included laying the fire, hoovering and ironing. I also put out the rubbish and put on two loads of laundry.

I list these tasks not because they're out of the ordinary - I am a house hubby in my retirement, while the missus slaves away in her studio earning a crust. No, I am writing this down to illustrate the benefits of having a trained Dobby at home. If I were single I'd be snapped up!

Most of this afternoon was given over to ironing. I have no idea where all this comes from. There are two adults in the household, no kids and a few cats. So where does all this laundry materialise from? If I don't put on a wash every day, in no time we're drowning in used towels, tops, bottoms, socks and tights. How do we manage to wear so many clothes?

I've counted them: I have two feet, one lower body part and one upper body part. They need covering each day - one pair of socks, a pair of underpants, a shirt and trousers. The missus is similarly decked out daily. Towels we do get through,  at least three or four a day. The bed linen ( 12 pillow cases, under sheet, cover sheet and duvet cover) is changed once every week (or so).

Washing is carried out a la Ford Motors. One load in the washing, one load hanging out to dry and another load being finished off in the tumble dryer. Ironing takes place, usually once a week but definitely before it becomes impossible to see the other side of the room for the pile of ironing.

Today, I spent three hours with a hot iron in my hand, regularly filling up the water reservoir with perfumed water so that the final ironed articles were crisp and sweet smelling. To be packed away into overflowing cupboards  and drawers to await their next wearing. 

In the winter months we have a coal fire almost every day. And every morning I lay the fire. It's a lovely routine.

First I rake out the previous night's embers. These are collected up with pan and brush, the unburnt or partial burnt coals recycled. Next I screw up paper (or lay firelighters), then I place the kindling very deliberately on the wood, making sure that there is sufficient to ensure that the coals catch. Finally, I place about 10 lumps of coal on top. Too many and the fire won't catch, too few and we have a slow burning, cool fire that evening. I then hoover up any left over debris, replace the fireguard and re-arrange the hearth furniture. For some strange reason I find the whole ritual extremely satisfying.

Last night, because we went out with friends to a pub quiz, the meal was a home made pizza and salad, followed by lashings of tea and homemade sweet potato pie. Today, I haven't had to cook because there's enough pizza for this evening's meal. I'm already planning tomorrow's. Cauliflower cheese and a rhubarb and apple pie.

This is, I imagine, the daily beat of many people's lives. Our days are filled with routine, small and repetitive, but comforting and anchoring. Such everyday ordinariness, enables us to cope when drama strikes.....

...or when you have to renew the car insurance having seen a 50 % increase in the premium!



Steve said...

I can honestly say that cooking, cleaning and washing keeps me sane. It's the wild millionaire parties that risk my sanity.

Nota Bene said...

Somehow my son manages to wear several weeks worth of clothes in the space of seven days. I can't help but feel this will change when he has to do the washing and ironing...

Bojo said...

"They need covering each day - one pair of socks, a pair of underpants, a shirt and trousers. The missus is similarly decked out daily."

That blonde bombshell who you are married to must be cross dresser!

Bird on a Wire said...

Do you put your shirts on hangars? Avoids creases I find and saves on drawer space.

Do you rinse your dishes with clean water to get the soap suds off. I can't stand the taste of Fairy.

Marginalia said...

Dear Steve, I didn't know LemSpa was so groovy!

Dear Nata Bene. Kick 'im out. Let 'im experience life raw, in tooth and claw, in a Laundrette.

Dear Bojo. She is!

Dear Anon. Too much washing I shrunk myself.

Dear Bird on a Wire. Shirts on hangers, but with quality material it needs ironing to show off a nice bit of smutter. I use a dish washer....