Kaikoura, NZ ~ Let your imagination provide the caption!
New Zealand weather reports are so much more than forecasts. So much so, that I can almost agree with Paul Simon’s lyrics,”I get all the news I need from the weather report”, as I sing along to, Only Living Boy in New York.
Watching the weather segment on TV One is instructional. Mr. Bill and I have learned geography (so that’s where Whanganui is) and pronunciation (so that’s how you say it).Watching the weather segment is entertaining. We chuckle over colorful descriptions; my favorite one is, ‘a real dog’s dinner’, which is how meteorologist, Daniel Corbett, describes stormy conditions. Best of all, the weather report is useful. I realize that farmers, sailors, commuters and holiday makers are all listening and making their plans accordingly but I feel that Dan is speaking just to me, when he gives his forecast. He says which of the coming days, will be good ones for drying. He also tells me if I need to hustle and get my washing out early or wait until it clears in the afternoon.
Doing laundry in New Zealand makes me feel young. It’s not a chore anymore, it’s fun. It’s an outside job with happiness benefits- sunshine and fresh air. No one uses a dryer if they can avoid it. The Kiwis are good stewards of the earth and eminently practical. The Fire Brigade was called out, when a Beachpoint guest, ran the dryer with the utility closet doors closed. That triggered the heat sensor and the building was evacuated. The responding firemen, quickly discovered the problem and fortunately no harm was done. However, they could not understand, why someone would use the dryer on a sunny day. Exactly! Why would you pay to dry your clothes, when the sun and wind will do it for free? Besides, they smell heavenly, 100% New Zealand pure. Riding along on my bike, it is so homey to see everyone’s clothes drying outside, smalls and all.
Returning to my roots,I embraced ‘the line’, when confronted with the mystifying, all in one washer/dryer, in the Granny Flat on Pohutukawa Avenue. Our temporary housing was a delightful homage to all things vintage, with one notable exception, a gleaming high tech combination washing/drying machine. The washer part was straightforward but the dryer was not. The dryer spun the damp clothes around and around without heat. Rub a dub doubtful! How could they ever dry? I looked out the window; saw the low tech clothes line- problem solved! I do feel that I have become my mother, now that I hang my laundry outside; it was unavoidable, really.
I do the washing. Mother Nature does the drying. Could I get Mr. Bill to do the folding? Not a chance! He does carry the drying rack in from the balcony though, when it rains. If we are both out when the odd shower happens, no worries, our clothes get an extra rinse.
I love the downtime of domestic chores. My hands can work, while my mind is free to wander. Forget the practice of mindfulness, I much prefer daydreaming. Gently stretching wet fabric does more than smooth wrinkles, it releases memories as well. I smile as I remember my mother hanging out the sheets, laughing with me as I played peek a boo with her. While pegging Mr.Bill’s socks, I am reminded of the time that I hung my father’s wool socks by their tops instead of their toes, causing the wet wool to stretch out of shape. Oops! my mother was not amused that time. Never mind, I bet Santa smiled when I choose to hang those docks on Christmas Eve.
Four children make a lot of laundry and just as many memories. Some are exciting and some are sweet. It was a race against time to finish hanging the wash, when I was in labor with Elizabeth(she waited!). In my mind’s eye, I can still see Thomas patiently standing under his dripping teddy bear, holding onto Big Bear’s wet leg, as it dried on the line. I laugh when I recall unpacking his suitcase, after our family vacation and discovering all the clean underpants, that I had packed for him, still neatly folded, unworn. When asked why he had not changed his underwear, he replied, “I was saving you laundry Mom”. Boys don’t fuss over laundry. How much time and toil does that laissez-faire attitude save? Plenty, I reckon. While clothes dry, I ponder, if the Mother of Necessity is the Mother of Invention, should we ask of Commando, “whose your Daddy”?
Memories swirl around on washing day and flutter away on the breeze but they are not long gone, for I will do it all over again tomorrow.
“Hey, I have nothing to do today but smile da-n-do-da-n-do-da-n-do here I am”.