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?

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  1. It's so much quicker when you do it together, isn't it? We've had some great conversations around the washing line - though, my nieces and nephews are exceptionally keen helpers;-) I can't remember anyone here actually looking forward to the washing chores and some of our children are great at joining the party as passive supervisers! It's often warmer outside in the sun than in the house, at this time of year, too, isn't it?

    1. Vicky,

      I agree! The jobs get done much more quickly when there are lots of hands. Doing the chores turns into a social occasion. It's the same with washing the dishes. We could use the dishwasher but we never do. The manual dishwashers are much more efficient and they like to talk and joke about as they work.

      Passive supervisors? I'd like to be one of those!

      Your weather must be very different to ours. Here, it is far colder outside than inside, even if the heaters aren't on. Looking at your garden nature photos. I can see you are enjoying milder temperatures than us.

  2. When you hang the washing do you use the same colored pegs on each item? That is two red pegs on a shirt, two blue pegs on a towel and so on. Or do you mix the peg colors all haphazardly? A yellow and a pink and so on?

    This is very important, you know.

    Extensive studies carried out at the Textile University of Contemporary Fabrics have proved beyond doubt that clothes dry quicker if the pegs used to hang them are of the same color.

    God bless.

    1. Victor,

      I hope Duncan doesn't see your comment. It might justify one of his eccentric habits. Duncan always chooses matching pegs for each item. I only have to look at the washing line to know who hung out the clothes. If the peg colours are haphazard, Duncan didn't do the job.

      We had an experiment where I asked him if he could deliberately choose non-matching pegs. He succeeded for a while then went back to his usual matching way. When I asked him why, he said that choosing unmatching pegs was becoming just as much an obsession as choosing matching ones, he might as well do what he preferred!

      I wonder if you ever hang out washing...

    2. I hang washing for a living. I work for the Textile University of Contemporary Fabrics.

    3. Victor,

      I always wondered what you do for a living. Now I know. Sounds like the perfect job for you!

  3. Ha ha, isn't it funny the things we're inspired to write about? I think Facebook may be a good thing for you Sue!
    A hanging out the washing party certainly sounds better than "can someone pleeeeease help me with the washing?" (said in a desperate strain).

    1. Kelly,

      Yes, sometimes the most unlikely subjects end up in a story! Thank you for reading my washing line story. I enjoyed our washing line chat on Facebook. I guess it's not just the subject but the people who are chatting. Everyone adds something new to the conversation and even washing lines turn out to be interesting!

      Presentation is everything. No one can resist a party!

  4. Maybe I should invite paddy to a party as incentive to get him to help me...at the moment, he usually dumps all the washing on the ground and runs off with the basket to use as a "boat". I do like the sound of your washing parties!

    1. Jacinta,

      What you need is two baskets! I'm sure Paddy will want to join in with your hanging-out-the-washing party one day. He'll want to sort the pegs and hand them to you, or climb onto a chair and peg up a sock. It'll all take a bit longer but it will be lots of fun!


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