Is My Marriage Going To Last? Let’s Ask The Washing Machine

11 Feb

Haven’t washing machines come a long way?  First there were rivers and rocks.  Then came washboards and buckets and mangles – my Nan had those; as well as a roof maiden.  I remember them in her kitchen. 

Next came the twin-tub washing machine to make a woman’s life easier (it was always a woman): I’m sure my Mum liked nothing better after a full working week and her two part-time jobs, to stand on a Saturday afternoon in our kitchen and schlep pile after pile of dirty clothes into one drum for washing; schlep them out of that drum into a basket while she washed the next lot of clothes in the same water (always wash cleanest to dirtiest); and the next; and the next.  Or maybe she used the sink and rinsed them in there by hand; before schlepping them into the second drum for spinning; finally, she would schlep the whole soggy pile into the garden to dry, or on to the radiators as it usually wasn’t; and then start all over again.

My mother didn’t complain because it beat using a washboard; and my Dad would help with the lifting if he wasn’t working.

I remember the day we got our first automatic washing machine and a tumble dryer.  Once installed and in use, we all sat on chairs in front of the washer and admired it as it spun round and round and round and…you get the idea.  Dad, my brother and I soon got bored and cleared off, but Mum sat for ages.  I have always thought it was because she never got when a joke stopped being amusing, but as I write this it suddenly occurs to me that it was probably her first sit-down in months and she was making the most of it.

My parents sold the appliances when we emigrated to South Africa, and I remember they got £50 for the tumble dryer and bought my brother a grey leather jacket with it.

When the Hub and I married way back in the last century (1985) we had no money and we were given a twenty-two-year-old twin tub washing machine by the parents of his best man.  We honeymooned for a week in Cape Town and flew back on a Monday night, arriving home at around three in the morning.  I woke up in the late afternoon to find the Hub slaving over the ancient washer and our dirty clothes all clean and drying on the line.  When a man does that on the first proper day of marriage and brings you breakfast in bed as well, you know you’ve got a good ‘un. 

We gave away the twin-tub when we moved to Jo’burg, and the last I heard it was still working.


This post was inspired by my reply to a comment from nrhatch on My Dream Vacation and Viewfromtheside’s Blog’s Weekend Theme prompt, invention.  Pop across there if you want to see variations on the theme.


And finally….

You all enjoyed the searches so much, I thought you might like this one from today:

cartoon talking toasts that are funny

And you think I’m nuts.

28 Responses to “Is My Marriage Going To Last? Let’s Ask The Washing Machine”

  1. Leeswammes February 11, 2011 at 17:34 #

    Oh, twin tubs! We had one in a rented house about 15 years ago. What a lot of work. Especially if you’re used to a proper washing machine. But yes, they just last and last…


    • Tilly Bud February 12, 2011 at 11:52 #

      Nobody builds things to last anymore. A sign of the age. 😦


  2. Mike Patrick February 11, 2011 at 17:41 #

    My wife’s male family members have a saying for jobs like laundry: Skirt work.

    I, on the other hand (being the manly-man I am) have offered to do the laundry. Sandy won’t let me; perhaps it has something to do with the color of my underwear before we were married. Hey, pink’s not so bad.


    • Tilly Bud February 12, 2011 at 11:55 #

      Thank you for that contribution, Manly-Man.

      What a terrible name but, sadly, still rather apt.

      Glad to see how enlightened you are. You can come back 🙂


  3. theonlycin February 11, 2011 at 18:04 #

    My Whirlpool top-loading automatic is now 22 years old and behaving very well 🙂
    Not going to ask about the toast …


  4. Pseu February 11, 2011 at 21:00 #

    We had a twin tub while I grew up, and my grandparents used to come over for a day a week, on the buz and do the whole wash for a week while Ma was out working. What a pair of stars.
    I remember Ma using the boil setting to cook a huge batch of Christmas puddings one year. (But she was the sort to try out a new way: like cooking a salmon in a dishwasher.

    When we had a twin tub in a rented place in Australia I used to save up and go to the laundrette for a service wash! Ha, I hated the thing.


    • Tilly Bud February 12, 2011 at 11:56 #

      I loved every bit of that comment! 🙂


  5. gigihawaii February 11, 2011 at 21:43 #

    we just bought a top loader last month. Hope it lasts longer than the previous one (10 years).


    • Tilly Bud February 12, 2011 at 11:57 #

      Ten years isn’t that bad, these days.


  6. nrhatch February 11, 2011 at 22:47 #

    Loved the post, Tilly Bud. Glad that your honeymoon stage lasted past the honeymoon itself.

    I’ve got a keeper too. I wouldn’t trade him for the world.

    Oh, and thanks for the link up! 😀


    • Harry Nicholson February 11, 2011 at 23:09 #

      I would come home from school on Mondays to a back kitchen full of steam, the copper boiler hissing and bubbling, Mam turning the mangle – red faced with wet hair slicked across her brow. I would grab a lump of jam and bread, grab the dog and head for the sand dunes . . .


      • Harry Nicholson February 11, 2011 at 23:11 #

        What’s a roof-maiden?
        Will she become a mangle-wife?


      • Tilly Bud February 13, 2011 at 12:39 #

        I’m nostalgic for a simpler age. Our children have lost so much.


      • Tilly Bud February 13, 2011 at 12:40 #

        The wooden slatted thing on the ceiling, for hanging wet washing.

        But I prefer your version.


    • Tilly Bud February 12, 2011 at 11:59 #

      Anytime! The Muse must be paid.

      As for the first part of your comment: ah, dear heart, when you’ve been reading me for a while longer you’ll know it’s not quite like that. Unless by ‘honeymoon stage’ you mean ‘never stopped rowing all week’.


  7. kateshrewsday February 11, 2011 at 23:22 #

    My husband shows considerable commitment to the washing machine…I feel after your post this must be a good sign, even if he only washes his own stuff.

    He lurves the Dyson vacuum cleaner, though.


    • Tilly Bud February 12, 2011 at 12:00 #

      Ooo, me too! It is the first vacuum cleaner I haven’t despised.


  8. vivinfrance February 11, 2011 at 23:57 #

    Get ready with the hearts and flowers music: I had two children in non-disposable nappies before I had a washing machine (yes, twin-tub) or Hoover.


    • Tilly Bud February 12, 2011 at 12:01 #

      Ouch. I bet they were potty trained fairly young.


      • Tilly Bud February 12, 2011 at 12:01 #

        Erm, one thing’s been worrying me: just how do you clean a nappie with a vacuum cleaner…?


  9. granny1947 February 12, 2011 at 00:51 #

    @vivinfrance…I remember those days all too well…I too had two small kids and no washing machine.
    My machine is by far the most important appliance in the house.
    I would hate to make a choice between my man and my machine!


  10. musings February 12, 2011 at 09:47 #

    You sure do have a good ‘un. Better keep him forever.


  11. viewfromtheside February 12, 2011 at 15:39 #

    What a cool post, that man is a keeper.

    My dad always ran the washing machine over the weekend, he and my mum hung together, though somehow it usually was she who brought it all in (until we were old enough to reach)


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