Nov 062013

A quick follow-up to my post yesterday about washday blues: I can remember as a child going up to London to see my uncle. He lived in Mayfair. His week was rigorously laid out – for instance, one day was baking day; one day  was the day the groceries arrived from Fortnum and Mason; and one day was set aside for the laundry. On that day, nothing else was allowed to interfere with the over-riding concern i.e. to get the sheets etc laundered. I am quite sure it involved outside help, but half a century later I cannot recall the exact details. But it reminded me of this Thomas Rowlandson caricature called Washing day Blues:


The man on the right wearing spectacles and dressed in a hat, long coat, and boots smiles broadly as he shakes the hand of his sour-looking friend. They stand before two women bent over a washtub with their backs to the two men. The unhappy man in the blue jacket complains about the smell from the laundry and congratulates his guest on remaining a bachelor.

The caption reads as follows: “Ah my old friend I wish you had called at some more convenient time but this is washing day – I have nothing to give you but cold Fish, cold Tripe and cold potatoes – you may smell soap suds a mile! – Ah Jack, Jack you don’t know these comforts— you are a bachelor!”

So let us remember our “matrimonial comforts” as we go about our day – no more cold tripe, no more cold herrings and no more cold spuds. Progress is to be measured in the spin cycle of our automatic washing machines! May your delicates never shrink, may your fine colours never run, and may the only thing to fade be your memory of Wash Day Blues!


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