The anticipation of a weekend’s freedom from toil is rarely fulfilled. My own plans usually embrace slothfulness, but acknowledge that chores take precedence. In the summer I can combine the idleness that I crave with the carrying out of the main chore, washing a week’s clothes for two grown ups and two practically grown ups.
I achieve this by monitoring the clothes on the washing line as I wait for the next load to finish. The monitoring process is not to be skimped. Weather in Belfast can catch you out if you don’t pay close attention to it. My vantage point in a wicker chair in our back yard gives me the necessary view of the Divis mountain and any clouds that might be hanging about.
The sneaky ones start by looking all white, fluffy bunny, and if you take your eye off them, they can suddenly loom overhead in their true shade – dark. But I’m wise to them, and pretend to be reading a book whilst taking occasional slurps of something refreshing. In reality I have exposed the sensitive part of my anatomy, my forearms, in case you were confused, and will get the early warning of any droplets that have dared to drip onto my washing. Then I become all action, plastic laundry basket rushed from the kitchen to the back yard, pegs flying, towels and jeans in first (they’re a swine to dry) and moving down the converging washing lines I pile it all in and move it indoors. Then the sun decides that those pesky dark clouds really should clear off, and they are duly dispatched. Clothes back on the line, repeat the process as often as necessary.
Winter is a different story. Without the aid of a tumble drier, clothes are hanging all over the house. The windows are running with condensation and the joy of monitoring the laundry’s state of dryness has lost its charm.