I am hanging the washing on the line. I hear the sliding door open and Charlotte appears. “Do you need some help?” I smile.
We reach into the basket, grab pegs and hang clothes. The job takes half the usual time.
On the next washing day, Charlotte transfers the washing from the machine to the basket and we head outside together to hang it on the line. Then we hear the sliding door open. It’s Duncan: “Do you need some help?”
Charlotte and I smile and I say, “We’re having a hanging-out-the-washing party!” Duncan smiles too. It is pleasant outside, standing in the sun with two of my children, hanging clothes.
Soon the basket is empty and the clothes are swinging in the breeze. “Thanks, everyone!” We head inside.
“We’ve just had a hanging-out-the-washing party,” I tell the others. Gemma-Rose’s ears prick up. A party?
The next day I struggle through the back door with the heavy basket of wet washing. Before long, Charlotte and Duncan appear. The sliding door opens again and there is Gemma-Rose. She grabs a garden chair and places it under the line. “I want to come to the hanging-out-the-washing party,” she announces. She takes a tea towel and two pegs and climbs onto her chair.
It's washing day again. The word spreads quickly: a hanging-out-the-washing party is going on. Children grab their shoes and come running. We all jostle for a position at the basket, Gemma-Rose mounts and dismounts her chair, we shake clothes, reach for pegs, swing the line around, chat and smile. The sun shines down upon us, sulphur-crested cockatoos squawk over our heads, the trees shake their leaves in the breeze… It is beautiful outside. All too soon the party is over. It didn’t last long today: a lot of guests make the party shorter.
One washing day, I am out at the line all alone and the party goes on and on... I have almost finished hanging the clothes on the line when the girls appear. “Mum! Why didn’t you tell us a party was going on?” asks Imogen. "We would have come." She sounds disappointed and I'm in trouble.
Who wants to help me hang out the washing? Silence.
Let’s have a hanging-out-the-washing party! Everyone comes running. Doesn't a party sound like lots of fun?