Just a few clothes to be hung out

Looking back now, I am convinced that my mother would have cracked the 100 metres qualifying time for every Olympic Games. From a standing start, I swear she could reach the clothes-line in 10 seconds flat. Her starting gun was the first random drop of rain to hit the kitchen window.

What is it with women and the line of washing hung out to dry? Despite the invention of the speedy clothes drier, and most people possessing multiple changes of clothes, the clothes-line hasn’t lost any of its importance for thousands of years. In every country, across the five continents, the clothes-line is the same; making it probably the greatest all round gadget on the planet. We men can grudgingly apply ourselves to a washing on the line, but it’s different with women – and we’ll get to that further down.

On my morning walk last week, I got caught out with one of those sudden showers my mother dreaded. Happily I was rescued by a friend who stopped and took me into his car. He agreed to join me for a coffee. We passed a house where there was a long line of clothes hanging out; I wondered if the clothes had been dry before the shower… and so Hugh and I got into a conversation about what we agreed is undoubtedly the number one common denominator across the world… the clothes-line! Hugh travels a lot, has an inquisitive mind and an observant eye – making him good company.

We are not being sexist here… God forbid! But it is factual to state that the clothes-line is principally the preserve of the sisters – who seem to have that special knack – making for a better method of clothes hanging. This being said, there is a minority of the male species who can manage the intricacies of cooperating with a breeze to get clothes dry and ‘in off the line’. My brother Sean claims to have the perfect system sussed. He does his washing and immediately places the wet shirts on hangers on the line. Not only does he get his shirts dry, but his plan eliminates the need for ironing as well.

Leaving aside the fact that the clothes-line is primarily the Gorls’ preserve, the Lads need to know how the thing works for emergencies – such as this one: she is heading off somewhere, and the washing machine hasn’t yet stopped purring. ‘Would you ever hang out those few things on the line when the machine stops?’ ‘Of course, Darling… you just go off and enjoy yourself – and no need to worry about me or the washing.’

You will forget to hang out the clothes until your superior is due home… leading to a rushed job. Because the washing has been lying there in a wet ball for so long, every item will be as creased as Christmas bunting. Don’t use the few grubby clothes-pegs that weren’t brought in off the line since last year. Every crease, every stain and anything that shrunk will be laid squarely at the hands of incompetent you.

Resist using one peg for several layers. The washing must have sufficient space between items to allow the air in and keep the wrinkles out. Hang towels by the corners… that one is easy. I hang my shirts by the seam of the outer shoulders. (That is so well explained, I could be writing manuals). Keep the socks together in pairs. Some will tell you that sweaters and jumpers should be flat dried. I ignore this, as it is usually muddy under the clothes-line – so I hang away. Your trousers can be tricky and deserves a little more time. Match the inner leg seams together, use two pegs and peg it with the waist hanging down. Hopefully, there will be no sheets or blankets in the mix, because if there is, it is either a one-woman or three-man job.

You need to remember, Lads, that there will be more in the pile than your belongings. You can hang your own vests and jocks any way you want – because you are thinking of nothing but the good drying. But if you don’t understand washings, there is something vitally important you need to learn now.

Fashion intimates hung on the clothes line to dry. Shot on white background.

Down from the bottom of the washing machine, or laundry basket, your hand will surface with a handful of knickers. Your entire future depends on how you hang those items. Never, ever, from the waist. Forget all I just told you about space and air. These items ideally should be hidden on the blind side. You might chance hanging them sideways; and this is one time where you can use one peg for two items – like including a sock maybe. No neighbour, visitor, or passer-by must ever suspect that this clothes-line hung a knickers. Got it?!

Don’t Forget

God gave women a sense of humour – so they might understand the jokes they married.