Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Two Fer Tuesday

Today I'm wandering down Memory Lane. Several things have led up to this, so I'm sort of "going with the flow." Bear with me. I will eventually explain!

I posted this first picture early on in my blogging life. As many of you know, I spent 12 years on an off-shore island with my family. This island had no facilities other than space and fresh air. There were no roads, no shops. We had to travel to the mainland in our small open boat to buy whatever we needed. There was no electricity. All our water came from the sky, collected from the roof into storage tanks.
At the time we moved in our five children were aged 12 down to 5. We came from an all-electric house. Now we had to return to the ways of our grandparents. We used candles for light. We carried water in buckets to heat on an open fire. Oh, we managed to improve things and make life comfortable, but the first months were hard.

Worst for me was wash-day. I had a total of seven sets of clothes to keep wearable. The island had a superabundance of mud mixed with the leavings of free-range cows. Wash-day was just that - all day!

Aileni took the above picture. My wash-tub was half a plastic barrel. The glass wash-board was invaluable. I used a scrubbing-brush (which others would use on the floor) to remove the worst of the stains from knees and seats of the various sizes of trousers. I've been known to burst into tears when I finally finished and the children came in - covered in muck after a great day out and about!

Things became much easier when our neighbour (we only had one at that time!) left to return to England. They had a hand operated washing machine - a gas-heated copper boiler with a paddle in the lid. They left it for me.
Now all I had to do was fill the tub with water and light the gas. After a while, when the water was warm enough, I added soap and the laundry. Close the lid, lower the paddle, and turn away!
The clean clothes went carefully through the old Acme wringer and into a tub of clean water for rinsing. I'm afraid I've no picture of this labour-saving device in use.
When we left the island, the washing machine came too. I had no expectation of needing it again, but it had been too useful to leave to rot.

The above photo was taken to accompany various ads I put in local papers. No-one wanted it, not even as a collector's item.
Finally my Freecycle offer came to the attention of a young man with leanings to the alternative lifestyle. On Sunday evening my trusty old washing machine left for its new home.
The last major item left from our island adventures.
The end of an era.

Well folks, that's my offering for this week's Two Fer Tuesday.
For more takes, go visit Jonna - she had this fun idea.
Have a good day.


barbara said...

Good morning Dragonstar,

This is really interesting. I like to hear how people live( or in your case, lived), when it is different than what I know.
The washing part made me think of dear Olive in my last post ! I imagine your emotion seeing the old machine go away :(

What a photo memory that is too !

Anonymous said...

I am very glad you have posted this memorial to an item that made your life easier. To have it leave us without a word seemed wrong.

B. Roan said...

Very interesting. I remember my grandmother washing clothes in a wash tub using a wash board. She raised 14 kids that way. Monday was always wash day, Tuesday she ironed. My back hurts just thinking about it.

Katney said...

My grandmother caught her hand in her wringer. I am glad that did not happen to you. Sometime back in an "old fashioned" theme I posted a picture of women doing laundry at the river in India. We've come a long way in convenience.

Nessa said...

Great pictures and a very interesting story.

I remember wash houses, heating water with wood and outhouses. Those times gave me some of my fondest memories - but I didn't do the wash.

Rosebud said...

I guess I'm a bit pathetic, but I actually miss that reclusive kind of life. Our wringer washer was round, but otherwise, about the same. Ours was not gas, but we heated water to put in it, then turned the handle on the side that swished the clothes back and forth.

At the time, I hated having an outhouse instead of a regular bathroom, but I lived through it, and now it doesn't seem like that big of a deal to me.

The work was hard, but ever so rewarding. From caring for the animals to gardening or whatever. We mostly lived outside, and I felt a lot better then than I do now.

Letting go of that lifestyle and it's treasures are moving occurances. Oh, how I miss it.

Jonna said...

What an interesting story. I remember my grandmother washing clothes through an old wringer washer. I never understood why, as we had electricity. Old habits died hard with her. Of course, who knows... I was only 6 at the time!

Thanks for sharing and playing along.

Blue said...

Gosh, both your photo's & text took me back.
Remember my mother doing it all.

Jane said...

Hi Dragonstar. Do you miss it? I imagine you do in a "nostalgic" way, but not in a practical sense! I found a washing machine just like yours in our enormous laurel hedge (actually it's still there). Obviously no one wanted it and it got pushed into the hedge by a previous owner. Maybe I should get it out and plant it up with flowers... It would certainly make an unusual garden decoration! Thanks for sharing your memories with us... Jane x