Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Boyhood Washday

My early boyhood was a time of frugality and thrift with little waste and even less extravagance. Sitting now at my computer (with the dishwasher, clothes washer and drier all working) it is difficult to recall how primitive (and apparently simple) it all was. Monday was washday. Mum lit the copper early in the washhouse. Then she did the washing by hand, hanging it on the long-line on the other side of the creek. As with haymaking, one kept an eye on the weather. Every morning she listened to Aunt Daisy as she did the housework, then the radio serials - Dr Paul and Portia Faces Life - from ten till eleven. The serials over there she made phone calls to Granny and others to discuss the latest events, the serial story and village gossip. She did a lot of sewing with her old treadle machine, most nearly all her own and our clothes.When the school held a fancy dress party she made me a tiger suit, orange with black stripes, cotton whiskers and a long padded tail.Doug went as a pixie doll.We made a smart pair.

The wood stove lit every day, its wetback heated our water. Mum placed old-fashioned irons on top, fitting in the wooden handle and carefully tested the temperature before she ironed the clothes. One day she bought an electric iron, though without a thermostat it equally had to be tested for heat with spittle. On the stove, a kettle hummed quietly most of the day, visitors always had a cup of tea and at night the hot water bottles needed filling.

No comments:

Post a Comment