It’s a grey, gray, rainy day here. Quintessentially English, I suppose, though we’ve actually had very few of them so far. When they do come, I always seem to have some laundry to do and it just doesn’t dry! We have an indoor drying rack that we use when the outside line isn’t usable (I adore having the line – Nicholas just put it up a couple of weeks ago). This is our back yard, and I put the line up in the rain for this pic! I won’t show you our drying rack.
My friend Krishna Kumari sent me a link to a good article about this topic, and more importantly about the difference between English and American psyches. I’ll quote some of the article – full piece is at: https://qz.com/1034914/it-doesnt-matter-where-brits-keep-their-dryers-the-point-is-they-dont-work/
I’ve found it to be the case that most houses I have visited here do not have a dryer at all. My conservationist side appreciates using the “solar dryer” that is already radiating heat every sunny day. And while it is England, we have had sunny days a good eighty percent of the time, so we’ve been amazingly lucky. But that isn’t normally the case, and I can’t quite fathom how people manage when there are a string of wet days. In June we had a house guest who had been traveling for a month prior to her arrival. I offered to do her laundry, which I did. But then we had three whole days of rain. Everything was hung up on our drying rack and whatever surfaces inside that could be used. Damp, damp, damp. We finally folded the stuff up but it still wasn’t really dry.
The author of the article is writing not about dryers in general but about washer/dryer combos that don’t function properly and says her frustration is really about cultural differences. She’s struck by the fact that inefficiencies that would drive her, an American, crazy, are simply accepted by the English. She says, “This acceptance is at the heart of many American immigrants’ frustrations about life in the UK. And it highlights a fundamental cultural between the US and UK that I’d characterize, broadly, as a British inclination to accept things as they are, versus an American inclination to alter and change them.”
She has got me nailed there. Good old Wood Element wants to change things that “should” be different. If it’s wet and rainy a good percentage of the time, WHY live with damp clothes? with bathtowels and denim that stay stiff? I actually line-dry most of my clothes in New York, but towels just beg to be tossed in to the dryer, don’t they? An American would agree, but an English person likely not.
(Here’s another bit of local color – just at the end of our street! Not an amazing shot, but I was dodging the rain drops.)
My English sister-in-law got a dryer for the first time only a few years ago and was quite excited to have it. But it never quite made it in to her house. It lived on her outside patio area for a while, and is now in a shed. It seems to simply not be a necessity, and she’d rather use precious indoor space for other things. She learned in her first several decades of life to make do without an electric dryer quite nicely. Fair enough. It does save energy, which I quite approve of. She’s happy to dash outside to get clothes that catch a sprinkling, to use her banister for what needs it. Ah, and she has an amazing thing called an “airing cupboard” where she places any slightly damp clothes, lightly folded, and they dry in there over night. I wish I had me one of those.
Perhaps the acceptance is a good thing. I’ll write another post about this soon, but for now I’ll just copy one more quote from the article: “Americans’ relentless drive for change means that we are also prone to the feeling that whatever we have is never enough; that there’s something inherently distasteful about being willing to accept life as it is.” The English do seem to accept Life as it is. Perhaps it would be better if more of us approached the difficulties that come our way similarly. I think of Byron Katie and her method of “Loving What Is”; I think of Buddhism; I think of the Chinese Taoist concept of Wu wei. They might not be exactly what we’re talking here, but they could be related. Perhaps, perhaps. But I still would like a dryer on a day like this.