Clothes on the clothesline!


Last night I did something that I hadn’t done since 1975, when I was 15 years old and the world was a very different place: I hung out freshly washed clothes on the clothesline at the Manse in Queensborough, Ont.

The Manse (my childhood home, which is why I was last seen hanging out laundry here in 1975) came with a washing machine when Raymond and I bought it last year. But until yesterday we hadn’t dared to try using the washer: partly because we didn’t need to (we were only here in Queensborough on the occasional weekend, and our full-time life in Montreal included a nice new washer and dryer); and partly because we were afraid to (Would it work? Would it leak water all over the floor?); and partly because the washer is (very oddly and inconveniently) located in the pantry/kitchen, right beside the oven and across from the sink. Who does laundry in the same space where dinner gets cooked?


But with almost a week’s worth of dirty laundry piling up since our official move here last Saturday, and the weather forecast good for today and not good for several days thereafter, I made an executive decision last night that we had to try the washing machine and get the laundry out on the line.

(Oh – have I mentioned that the Manse’s dryer is not really functional? So there’s that. As a result, we have to get the clothes dried on the clothesline as long as that’s possible into the fall-winter season. And yes, I know that some people put clothes on the line in the dead of winter. But if you ask me, a frozen-stiff piece of laundry is not the same as a dry piece of laundry.)

So long story long, the washing machine turned out to be almost, but not quite, functional. The hot water worked; the cold water did not. What to do? Only one possibility: call up our neighbour Ed, to see what he might recommend on the plumber front. People, here is one reason why I LOVE living in Queensborough: practically before I had put the receiver down, Ed was at the door, plier-type tool in hand, and a very short time thereafter he had the washer functioning just fine. And while Ed and Raymond then proceeded to shoot the breeze, I happily did several loads of laundry.

And hung them out to dry. And kind of felt like my life was complete. Which it pretty much was. And is.

9 thoughts on “Clothes on the clothesline!

  1. Oh boy. I’m just gonna put blogging politeness aside for a minute…You might be a little too useless for hillbilly country. And i mean that in a caring, brotherly way. A washing machine hooks up to hot and cold water, ya turn open the taps and away ya go. The dryer…the flat tire… oh never mind. You’ll figure it out.

    • We WILL figure it out! (And by the way, North of Seven is NOT hillbilly country, so there.) The problem with the washer wasn’t a closed tap, but a blocked hose. But Ed got it fixed right up. The best part of living in a rural area is the way neighbours help each other out. As you well know from your childhood at the Manse!

  2. A tidy lawn, a shiny red oil tank and a line of clothes waving on a sunny October day in a hamlet North of Seven. It doesn’t get much better than this.

  3. Katherine, hanging out laundry is the BEST! Easier on clothes, saves energy, leaves stuff smelling great (you’ll soon find yourself nauseated by the smell of fabric softener) and provides a bit of a respite in the day as you take just 10 minutes to focus on something simple and necessary. Never mind the people who complain about the texture of hung-out towels; I say it’s perfect for a bit of exfoliation!

    • I couldn’t agree more, Nancy, and I’m so pleased that we’ve finally got our washing-machine-and-clothesline operation under way. (Though the forecast of rain for the next several days is rather discouraging.) The clothes DO smell wonderful. And as for hung-out towels, yeah, well, they really are – what’s the opposite of fluffy? But they smell great too, and it’s well worth the slight scratchiness.

  4. There is nothing like the smell of freshly dried clothes from the clothesline. Glad to hear you have become a Queensboroughite.

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