The English Patient

The English Patient

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Wednesday we ironed

 By Wednesday all the laundry was dry. We did not have a fancy drier. When it was sunny and warm the laundry was pegged out. When it rained the house was full of washing hanging around the fire places. As the steam from the washing rose up, there was the delicious smell of drying cotton sheets. A smell which always takes me back in an instant to my childhood. We had what we called wooden "horses" that the clothes were hung on. This was a chance to check everything which need to be darned. As clothes were passed on from child to child and they had a patchwork of darns. Sometimes if the clothes didn't fit but were just too good to throw away. They had all sorts of uses.Quilting or cut out onto smaller pattern to fit one of us. Anything made of wool was unpicked and made into cardigans or jumpers Nanny reknitted. Bobble hats,or scarves in jolly colours. If it was not recycleable it went to the church for a jumble sale, to raise funds for the church roof..... whick leaked like a sieve!!!!
Nanny carefully taught me to knit, darn and iron. I loved sitting together by the fireplace mending. There was a bond between us as we both knew that what we were doing was, helping everyone keep their money in their pocket. If nanny was busy she "top and tailed" the sheets. Turning them over and updide down to save on laundry. But I will never forget crawling in to clean cotton sheets which smelled of her home made rose or lavender water. This water made the sheets steam as they dried under the hot iron.
I loved these moments together. If when we had enough "puff" to chatter. I loved hearing nanny's storys. Especially about her mother Kasia. Kasia had a trade...going from town to town making baskets for farmers. They stored their crops in the baskets. But like everything nothing was thrown away. If you had a hole in the basket the "basket lady" came once a year and mended them . She had a wagon and a couple of horses. When she got to the farm she was allowed to sleep in the barn. She was jewish from Eastern Europe is all I know.
The worst part of the day was putting away the ironing. Apart from me my sister and our grandad and nanny, we had other members of family staying. Cousin Barbra and her father George. And later my Uncle Darrell and his new Irish wife Elenor. We always called her NannyLane and still do to this day.. She still lives round the corner. Cigarettes, so glamerous then, played havoc with her lungs.She is a big part of my childhood and I love her so much.
That night we were always so tired. But when it was dark outside there was always a roaring fire to sit by and get warm. Grandad Charlie came home for the fish factory and always played with me...his bubbles...for half an hour before Nanny got the meal on the table.
Life was very orderly in those day...Washing Monday, Doctor Tuesday, Ironing wednesday. And you know I still stick to those days today???I wash and change sheets on a Monday????? It just stuck with me. But life had a rythmn and you kept to it and it worked!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment