When I was a kid my mother sent the sheets to the laundry, washed everything else at home and hung on the line in the back garden. She would NEVER have put anything out in the front garden. I can remember helping her to use the hand wringer, pushing the clothes through and being fascinated by the drips that could be squeezed out even on the third time through. Oh dear, am I really that old?


When we first moved to Italy I was surprised to see so much washing visible to the public. It hangs from the windows, across alleyways, on terraces, balconies and even in the piazza’s on ‘clothes horses’ – and – they hang ANYTHING out. I know my neighbours underwear intimately and notice when it changes from long johns to Y-fronts, yippee summer’s here, sort of thing.


We have a communal area between our house and the one next door for anyone to use for drying. It catches the sun for most of the day during the summer months and some days, it can be dry and ready to wear within half-an-hour. I never use a dryer in the summer, I don’t have one anyway. In the winter months I nip down to the local launderette but only when absolutely necessary…otherwise, out it all goes, any time of the year when the sun shines.

Pulley system between high windows

I reckon my mother would be appalled because now I put all my clothes out on the line without shame, for the whole of Petritoli to observe. I must admit that when back in the UK and shopping in M&S for underwear I do consider who might see it and try to avoid anything too controversial. If at all worried I keep the ‘smalls’ to one side and find a space for them to be dried in private!



Hanging out the washing, to dry in air and sun
Is almost verging, I would say, on my idea of fun!
There’s nothing like that feeling when you fall into your bed
And sheets are fresh and clean and crisp,
The scent of summer fills your head.

You lay beside your partner; you’re feeling good and clean
It’s kind of cosy, neat and cool, and perfect, it would seem.
Then the mood is shattered, air polluted, sheets destroyed
Someone has eaten gassy food…
He laughs, but you’re annoyed!

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One thought on “Washing…

  1. I think you have over-stated the actual level of sheet destruction ensuing from consumption of “gassy food” but otherwise – even for those of us to whom hands on laundry work is somewhat alien – the whole shameless Italian long-john flapping scenario is very familiar!
    I remember my grandmother in NI had one of those big old mangles (is that the correct spelling?) and didn’t the famous decathlete Daley Thompson once have a memorable mangle moment …

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