Tuesday, 5 October 2010

The etiquette of 'down-the-hill-and-over-the-fencelaundry'................an extreme autumn island sport.

A typical autumn 'extreme garden sport' in Orkney...... 'getting the laundry in'
Image copyright Alex Leanord http://www.giddy-limit.com/

As I listen to the wind, howling (OK it's only at about 50mph again) around the house I can be thankful I got the washing in earlier tonight. Whilst the clothes were still wet and could do with longer out 'there', I quickly did a pro-con evaluation of the situation. There is an ettiquette to this sport, after all; a brutal sport with a very short and unpredictable season.

OK it's windy - it's October - often the end of the outdoor extreme laundry season, this month the pegs just give up and ask to come in the hoose. I've a few hardened tough guy 'storm pegs' who think they can take it - but they soon beg for mercy.

OK each sock had the typical rule book 3 pegs each - each shirt had 5 or 6, trousers 3-4 on each leg, and jumpers a goodly few more. They *might* manage another half hour on the line, although I've given up on towels - the last couple I put out snapped the line - combination of the weight of the pegs used to secure the towels I suspect, the action of the towel being thrown about and an old line (well we put it up 6 months ago - in this climate I guess thats old). It should be stated however, our peg technique is well within the acceptable range of the local norm.

OK we are washing more than normal as we're off soon 'sooth' to the 'mainland' much excitement and the requirement for clean/dry clothes - our usual grubbiness isn't appreciated when we're gadding about with chums. We're going to have to wear oor 'posh mainland stuff' which might not even 'have' to be wind and waterproof, what a treat! Trips away often call for extreme laundry in the face of adversity - or getting it dry before the ferry leaves.........nevermind the wind speed, tether yourself quickly and just use more pegs....

OK, how much can I be bothered at this moment to retreive laundry from the line, rather than chance finding it later on various fences, fields, broken lines and potentially a nearby island, country or another continent - hmmm I'm not hugely fussed about doing any of that extra extreme laundry workout, I've alot on tomorrow. And, apart from that, the socks aren't bi-lingual and are quite shy really. An evaluation of other appointments is required when considering the timing of events during the art of extreme laundry - this sport often requires full committment for the 'post salvage match analysis' with phrases such as 'whar's my stuff'', 'did you give me two socks' and I can't remember exactly what I had out there - so I *think* I got it all............mebbe?!

Stage one 'attempting the pegging oot' typical scene for extreme outdoor drying in Orkney
Image copyright Alex Leanord http://www.giddy-limit.com/thegiddylimit

The washing came in, all accounted for like many in Orkney, I'm quite good at 'extreme laundry'. On the other hand - we do have a remarkable amount of odd socks - hope the 'lost' ones are having fun and learning the lingo elsewhere! OK, outdoor drying is more of an 'extreme sport' (the giddy limit character 'Liz' http://www.giddy-limit.com/thegiddylimitliz.html is clearly a black-belt see image above) which can be a good workout at this time of the year, than attempting 'indoor drying' but I'm more likely to find socks again if I dry it indoors (or maybe not......)!

We don't own a drier - there was one in this house which I asked to be taken away - they eat money with two kids, a beach habit, gardening clothes and outdoor life to sustain - we've never needed one, you get into the swing of juggling the laundry, even in a wet climate. I'd rather take my chance out there in the wind - or by having a regular laundry theme decorating the house than use precious money to dry clothes. The good life meets Widow Twankey, I can cope with that.

Alex Howard has a regular weekly column for our local newspaper - we cut out alot of the weekly cartoons and put them up in the kitchen - this is our all time favourite from The Orcadian 23rd October 2008.

Image copyright Alex Leanord http://www.giddy-limit.com/Year4Archive/no.165.html
Now, his website is hugely funny with a great archive of all the cartoons at http://www.giddy-limit.com/thegiddylimitarc.html we often give the books, calender or his cards as pressies - they truely are wonderful and great at portraying life here. And, no I don't get a discount!

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