Restringing two washing lines felt like a victory yesterday. I should have immediately washed all our pillow cases and hung them up like oversized bunting to celebrate. They are both now completely usable. One needs one more piece of refurbishment but I must admit the height that the previous generations thought appropriate to dry their washing is beyond my reach. We don’t have a ladder that can get me up high enough to get one of the lines onto its wall-fixed pulley.
Jobs like this have an almost holiday-like pleasure built in. Within walking distance of our new home is an old fashioned hardware store.
If this store were in a small greek town or a Honk Kong back street I would be in seventh heaven or maybe cloud nine. Somewhere, certainly, that would suggest a state of bliss. Hardware shops were a place of imagination and intrigue when I was a small person, I am still that small person. Only age and the fear of looking daft stops me from running my fingers through boxes of nobbly nuts, or shiny washers to feel hard metal behave like fluid. My dad would take me in to shops like this and then usually forget that he had a daughter while he rummaged through small boxes on the dusty shelves of the hardware stores of North East Essex. I realise now he was also freed of pester power, no small child would ever find anything in a hardware store that they would nag on about until they either got the item or, more likely, a lesson in those who want, don’t get. He would disappear to the back and have ernest conversations about grommets and other exotically named items with other adult men who gathered in small groups.
Delightfully yesterday there was a small group of men at the far end of the store nattering about such things as I entered.
Such is the language of these stores I mostly go in and immediately admit that I don’t know what I want but either describe it or explain the job it needs to do.
” What you need is essooks” was the reply when I described something metal shaped as a figure of 8.
” Oh, yes essooks” I replied with the certainty of someone who has only briefly forgotten the name of the item required. ” Two essooks please”
And so, for 75 pence, I am the proud owner of two ‘S’ hooks, and two refurbished washing lines.