Saturday, September 19, 2009

Hanging out the washing

click photo to enlarge
Many things have changed over the past fifty odd years of my life but one that hasn't is the best way to dry washing. I can't begin to imagine for how many centuries people have fixed clothes to a washing line and let the sun and wind do their work. However, I do know that my mother did it when I was young, and my wife and I do it still.

It's true that we have both a spin dryer and a tumble dryer. It's also true that in the past we had the high-tec version of the washing line - the rotary dryer with many feet of line folded into a web with a seven foot radius. But our method of choice is the tried and tested lines stretched between vertical posts. Not only is it the cheapest way to dry washing, and the most environmentally friendly method, but it also does the job quickly and efficiently. There is a washing line elaboration that we don't use, however: the clothes prop. This is a long piece of wood, about six or seven feet long, with a notch cut in the end that is used to elevate the line when the washing has been fixed to it. My mother used one but we don't. Perhaps her diminutive stature made it a necessity that our height means we can forgo. Our clothes pegs, made of wood with springs are also quite traditional. Plastic versions are available, as are newer (and older) designs, but we prefer this variety.

After I'd been cutting the grass the other day I noticed the sharp outlines of the washing on its line perfectly reproduced on the lawn, so I asked my wife to stand in a position that would make the picture complete. It took a few attempts over several minutes as the clouds kept drifting across the sun, but I eventually got the shot that I post today.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 150mm (11mm/22mm equiv.)
F No: f6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/320
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.7 EV
Image Stabilisation: On