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Thursday, 30 September 2010

Do I appreciate modern conveniences?

I should be in my bed but can't sleep. I will be the proverbial wet rag in the morning and I have the beds to change and washing to do. What am I worrying about. I have a washing machine and a tumble drier and if I am nifty getting it out of the drier and folded I don't have to iron anything. I feel really spoilt when I cast my mind back to my early teens - fourteen and fifteen. With both parents working and two younger siblings Sunday became a day of work not rest. I had to alternate Sunday jobs with my Mother. One Sunday I did the weeks wash, including bed linen, with my brother turning the mangle and the following Sunday I did the lunch and baking for the week.
We were considered lucky, we had a washhouse which was an eight foot square room with a big bailey sink, electric copper, dolly tub with copper dolly and a mangle. No hot water, just the cold tap. Beds were stripped, bottom sheets and pillow cases in the wash, top sheets then put on the bottom and clean sheets for the top. Mother was very clean and fussy so we all had clean underwear every day. (In those days that was very rare,normally they were worn for a week and only changed on bath night which was once a week although we bathed most nights but had to share water).
All the cottons, sheets, undies, shirts, towels and teatowels, hankies, etc., were boiled in the copper, there was usually at least three copperloads. From the copper into the sink for the first rinse, then into the dollytub which was full of clean water, pummelled with the dolly, put through the mangle and hung on the line.
All non cottons had to be hand washed or dollied. The very last job was tipping the water out of the dolly tub onto the concrete floor and scrubbing it with the yard brush, it had to be almost as white as the washing.
That memory flashback has done me the world of good. I will happily change my beds and wash my sheets in the morning, it will take me all of ten minutes - not counting the machine time - Who said the old days were good days??????


  1. Wow, Carol, those are interesting memories - be sure to write all these things down for your grandkids!

    I have no laundry memories before about 1960, when I remember accompanying my mother to a laundromat with all the family laundry in the trunk. Once we got all the machines loaded and the coins pushed in (my job), I got to walk down the road to Perrone's Pharmacy and get an Eskimo Pie!

  2. yeah I kinda agree, but I think all the free time our young ones have hasn't helped them develop the level of respect for others or how hard you need to work to maintain life. As a working Mum I still have loads of chores to do whilst home. Sometimes I think I would actually like my twin tub back, so I could spend a day in the kitchen mutitasking and making my DD help.