Powerless – The Year the Lights Went Out

Thursday, March 20 – Oh for a mangle

Martin has gone up in my estimation. Not only did he find the mangle, following Neil’s directions, but he has been to collect it. Neil was the one who first heard the mangle was available, but he is busy with the sheep, so Martin cycled off to double check that it really was in working order. He found it in the garden shed of an elderly lady who no longer has the strength to turn the heavy handle and was glad to think it would be put to good use. It is a little rusty, but some oil will soon put that right.

Then Martin returned with Stephen in the car, as it needed two of them to lift the heavy contraption. And now it has been assembled and is standing on the kitchen terrace. No longer is this area an elegant patio for pre-dinner drinks and nibbles, it is fast turning into a working laundry. There’s the barbecue where we are heating water on dry days, an old metal bath and an old baby bath for washing and now the mangle nearby. It’s all very convenient, almost like a quaint retro chic utility room, with the washing line in easy reach.

I haven’t used the mangle yet as there was such a cold wind today I didn’t fancy getting frozen, but will do so tomorrow if the weather is fine. Jane and Anna are intrigued and want to take turns turning the handle and pushing the laundry through the heavy wooden rollers. We shall collect the waste water in a large basin and use it for topping up the cistern in the cloakroom.

It’s  funny to  be so excited by such an old fashioned piece of machinery. But in these powerless times, without spin cycles on washing machines and the aid of a tumble dryer, laundry is a real chore and this mangle is going to be an enormous help.

And the cats are helping in their own little way too. They left two mice in the kitchen this morning. I must be feeding them too much as they didn’t even try eating them.

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