24 January 2013

Washing machine love

I am newly in love with our washing machine.

We have recently returned from a few days in Auckland, and while we were away, the washing machine stopped draining out its water. Ian told me this over the phone very casually - a by-the-way sort of comment - as if it wasn't a disaster.

I was fresh from visiting the Howick Historical Village, which was a sharp reminder of how colonial New Zealand women lived. Two-room cottages, eight children in the family. Their washing was done by hand in metal buckets, rubbed vigorously with harsh home-made soap made they'd made from rendered fat in between cooking and cleaning for 10 people, growing food, preserving food, sewing clothes, making candles, drawing water from the well....


The washing basket on display is identical to mine! I inherited it from my grandmother and it's in perfect condition, 35 or so years after I remember her hanging it on a hook in her garage when she'd finished pegging out the washing. (I wish you could still buy them like that.)

This bedroom had space for two babies near the adult bed - the other children slept together in the attic.





















The village was quaint and pretty, and I had to remind myself that it wasn't accurate to wax lyrical over their simple, back-to-the land lives. It was undoubtedly Hard Work. And the people in the cute little houses probably spent much of their lives wishing they could have the houses and land of well-to-do people.

Their essential tools were stored in the kitchen/dining/living room ceiling,
which is about the size of Anna's bedroom.
Better Homes and Gardens.
The children played games on the village green:



Jack was invited to join a game of checkers under a leafy tree, while tuis chortled above:



 And there were soldiers, swords and muskets galore:



But as endearing as it all was to this lover of old-fashioned style, I was enormously pleased to have the washing machine fixed yesterday.

(Actually, with guidance from a Google search, Ian had fixed it the night before, discovering a macerated rag that had found its way into the pump. Only we didn't realise his repair had worked, because as the repairman explained, our model of machine takes a couple of minutes to start draining after it enters the spin cycle, and I hadn't waited long enough when I was checking whether our DIY repair had worked. Nevertheless, the repairman did find some bits of grit remaining in the pump and charged us $85. Grrrr.)

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