Friday, December 27, 2013

All mod-cons

Learning the tricks of the trade as a young bloke, just arrived in the Outback, I soon devised a method  of clothes cleaning and supply.

All week I would wear RM williams' denim jeans, Undies, sox and a red or blue checked flannel shirt.  For  town clothes I had one drip dry shirt, and one pair of drip dry trousers, same sox, same undies, but washed, of course, adn one  pair of shorts fro wash day. I did have wet weather gear and a good coat for winter mornings, but that was about it.

I had seven of everything in the work clothes, but only the one set of town clothes. So, come Sunday it would be wash day, and it went like this.  we often worked all week, Sunday's too, and I would then have to do the wash late in the afternoon, or at night even.

I could usually get hold of a large galvanised tub, in which I would drop all the working gear, fill with water, a cup of powdered detergent and then 'switch on the washing machine'.  This consited of me, stamping in the tub of clothes, building up a nice sudsy foam.

As I tramped in the tub, wearing my shorts, I would be reading a Marchal Grover, Larry and Stretch western.

I remember one day, when the boss was passing my Sunday wash, he said "I'll bring you over some grapes."

Remember, I was still wet behind the ears, so I answered: "She's right, boss, I'll get some at lunch  time."

The boss couldn't be bothered explaining this, as was the case with a lot of comments that used to go over my ever filled head, that was always mulling over being a teenager and trying to be a man, and learning about the Outback all at the same time...I wasn't ready for grape jokes.

At the end of the middle of the book, sounds funny, at the end  of the middle, Oh! Well, I would close on a dog eared page and get the clothes out of the tub and hang them on the line, dripping suds and a dark brown water run off.  Pegging them out in order, seven pair of Jeans, Seven shirts, seven pair of undies and seven pair of sox.  If I wasn't going to town, I would wear Sunday's issue, so I often had a spare set of work clothes each week. The town stuff I did by hand, and in the Sunday afternoon's I wiould polish my RM Williams Sante Fe heel riding boots, so I was well organised, Hey? Considering that it wasn't that long ago that mum used to do all of this, only I don't think she read any Marshall Grover books.

After I got the stuff all hung out I would turn the hose on full blast, after starting up the petrol pump motor, and hose the suds, almost, all out of the washing.

After a few Sundays the laundry had made the clothes all the one colour, a dingy sort of grey, but at least they were matching outfits, but it always amused me that when I took the stuff off the line, dry in the summer sun, I could stand the jeans up against the wall, and there they would stand until they were crumpled into the washing pile at the end of a working day, I used to give the undies an extra rinse, as the suds made them stiff as well, and most uncomfortable  in places they shouldn't when you spent the day  in the saddle.  The once checked shirts were grey but a bit of a shake would soften them up enough to be comfortable.

Of course, one never washed wool blankets as it took a fair while to get enough dirt and body grease into them to be nice and warm, and to have it so that you didnlt need to carry a hulking big swag of clean balnkets with you.  These were the clever things I was learning in the Outback in those days.

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