Wednesday, 13 April 2011

It's all in the wash

I don't think I am alone when I say I hate ironing. In fact it was a major discussion topic in the hairdressers the other day...especially when next door to it there were two people running an ironing business. It's not that long ago (yes, when I was a child) when washing and ironing took most of two days.

Monday was wash day in our home, and in my grandmother's next door. We managed with a twin tub, connected to the sink, whilst my grandmother still used a boiler in which she put all her 'whites' and would fish them out with wooden tongs after she had finished. The smell was magical. She would relay tales of mangles and wash boards....with the task taking even longer. Then Tuesday would be ironing day, and the weeks would go on with the same routine.

I think ironing for me becomes such a chore because I am less disciplined when it comes to washing. Stick it in the washing machine when I have time, pull it out to dry and then leave it to be ironed. So, of course, those clothes that I need to wear get an iron and others don't. Which means taking a deep breath every so often and getting the whole job done at once.

Ironing doesn't exist in many parts of the world! But nor does the ability to wash like we do. Clothes are worn for longer, washing consists of rinsing garments in the river, or under a tap. Water borne diseases can be carried and passed on, through drinking water, or washing clothes in effluent. Almost half the people in developing countries lack inadequate sanitation. As I tackle my ironing this week I will think of these people and the risks they take to wear clean clothes. An hour spent at the ironing board is nothing compared to the effort others have to put in.

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