Laundry observations in an Australian summer

24 12 2022

There are a LOT of things I hate about an Australian summer, not least of which are the relentless heat, the hot easterly winds coming from the inner part of the continent, the flies, and the always-present threat of bushfires. But one of summer’s joys is hanging the washing on the line and it being dry by the time the second load is ready to go out. Then bringing in the washing and smothering your face into the smell of the sun and fresh air that lingers for hours in the towels etc. Burning your hand on the metal spring in the pegs isn’t so wonderful, however! (guess who left the peg bucket outside in the sun for 30+ minutes this morning?)

For those living in other climes, nearly every Australian who lives in a house with a backyard has a clothesline, even if they also have a dryer. And when the weather’s fine and if we have the time to do so, we peg out our laundry to dry in the sun. I realise this may seem like an old-fashioned novelty to many of my friends and family in other parts of the world, and it certainly isn’t recommended if you live in a cold climate (when I lived in Canada, I recall naively pegging out my clothes on the outside line when it was -5C — they didn’t dry, instead they froze 🙂 )

I also remember living up north (particularly the Pilbara region of Western Australia) and there we had two big issues with laundry. One was that the cold water was often hotter than the hot water! (In those days, the cold water was piped to the town across about 20+ miles in aboveground pipes.) And the other was that in the hottest time of the year we had to hang our laundry out at night to avoid bleaching and rotting from the harsh sun.

BTW, we’ve never owned a dryer in the house where we’ve lived for the past 13 years—we hang out our washing all year round. There’s rarely a run of more than a few days a week of wet weather in the middle of winter. The clothes take longer to dry in winter, but invariably they do, or we help them along by hanging them over a portable clothes rack in the house.


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