Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Getting into hot water...

I took Miss Blossom out into the garden for this morning for an airing. Poor old thing, stuck in the corner of the room all winter long, she needed some air and a new apron too. She remained taciturn but I could tell the fresh air did her good. I left her in the garden opposite the line of washing soaking up the morning sun.

I wonder just how many frocks she's worn in her lifetime? It's rather a shame that after all these years of modelling fancy frocks she ends up next to the ivy wearing a ration book apron! I think she looks rather fetching - fit for a purpose, utility wear at its best. I'm hoping she might help around the house with the multitude of spring cleaning jobs that seemed to have reared their head since the sun decided to shine on this little house...

A week before Easter our boiler broke. We had no hot water and four disgruntled Roses. Our neighbours offered us the use of their shower and so we trundled up and down the road, washbags in hand, and returned home feeling fresher with dripping hair and shiny faces. Our water "rationing" took its toll by the end of the week, it wasn't so much the lack of hot water for bathing, I could manage a quick wash and feel clean, it was the hair washing that got us girls down.

Our plumber told us it would be fun, just like "all those years ago when we washed our hair at the kitchen sink". Well we tried, we really did ...

Even when Little Sister, head bent down into the kitchen sink, peering into the plughole shouted "Yuk I can see pasta down here" we carried on. I had to admit defeat when it came to my turn and I had to shout for Mr Roses to come and lend a hand - I just couldn't manage the boiling of the kettle whilst my head was shoved in the sink, the pouring of the said boiling water into a jug of lukewarm water and then aiming successfully at my head.

So Mr Roses aided and abetted and in a few moments transported me back to when i was a little girl - to hair washing nights with my mum. To days when our very temperamental boiler had to be primed hours in advance to guarantee any kind of hot water emerging from the taps. To days when my mother would insist cutting my hair shorter and shorter in the belief that it would make my hair thicker (it didn't), to days when she would try lemon and vinegar as a rinse on my hair as a friend had told her it would make it shine... to days when the smell of vosene would fill the bathroom. But best of all to days when she would wrap my hair up in a warm soft towel, give it a good rub and me a huge hug...
A week later the plumber came back like a returning hero with the spare part that would magically transform our cold taps to hot. I wonder if there was a water surge in the city that night, never have any of us (except perhaps for that first night back after our first camping trip), spent so long in the shower.
The very next day the sun began to shine and the dust and hidden yuckiness that had accumulated in the corners of our home over this very long winter began to surface. So, slowly, rugs have been washed and aired, cupboards are being sorted and buckets of hot water are being used...

Elsewhere, in our Emporium we have been having a bit of a Spring Clean too. We have opened up our Cellar to store some bargain items and filled the shelves with lots of new goodies.

If you're on a cleaning mission, you'll find in our Scullery a vintage gem of a book packed full of vintage laundry "how to's".

Our Dovecote is crammed with Spring loveliness, tins, books, linens and toys and right on the top shelf is this little embroidered picture of a the most darling house, which may or may not have running hot water (I suspect not) but where the sun seems to be constantly shining!

Have a good week.


Sian said...

I have just recently discovered your lovely blog and your story today made me smile :) Thank you

Sue at Dollytub Cottage said...

The hair-washing brought back memories for me. When I was a little girl, my hair was so long, I could sit on it. Every Friday night, I would lie down on my back on the worktop/draining board and it took both Mum and Dad to wash and rinse it over the large Belfast sink.In those days, shampoo was sold in single application sachets - they had to use 3 sachets! The final rinse had vinegar added. It was dries by the fire. For special occasions Mum put my hair in ringlet rags! SueXX

Cowboys and Custard said...

Ah sweet memories... sitting in the kitchen sink having a bath.. we are talking many years ago as I just wouldn't fit these days!
A little deprivation can really make us appreciate our home comforts when they return.
Glad to know you are squeaky clean again and that you haven't blocked the drains in Brighton with all that dirt!
Dot xx

JuicyFig said...

You have brought back some memories!
My mum also tried beer and raw eggs on my hair - she cracked the egg ont my head, and it slid off and went streight down the plug hole!

I love the idea that cutting hair short makes it thicker - like a good lawn!


Lisa said...

Oh yes Vosene was the shampoo of choice in our house too!
I can smell it now!
Lisa x

Hannah Stoneham said...

Fabulous post - thank you indeed!

Thimbleanna said...

Wow, what memories! I used to love to wash my hair in the sink -- what was I thinking???I'm very glad your water is back on -- it's nice to be back in the 21st century!

Liz said...

So glad your hot water has been restored. I can still remember vividly having no hot water, or electric, for 12 days after the "hurricane" in 1987. It felt like 12 months!

My little niece in China had her head completely shaved 3 times before she was 18 months old and now she is 3 she has beautiful thick, long, glossy hair so maybe your mum just didn't cut yours quite short enough!

A Thrifty Mrs said...

I still love vosene. Mmmm.
Bought back memories of living in rural Ireland with only an outside bathroom until 1990!

Heidi said...

No hot water is the pits, I ran out of propane and it took 3 days for them to come and fill our tank, that was the longest 3 days of my life, what lovely treasures you have...

Meggie said...

What a totally 'delicious' post! I loved every little word of it, and love seeing miss Blossom out in the sunshine!

Suzy's Vintage Attic said...

We do take showers for granted. When we eventually have the whole bathroom gutted and re-done, we'll probably have to wash from a bucket! Not looking forward to that...

Your childhood memories reminded me of mine. I remember having my hair washed in the sink by my Mother and being told that cutting my hair short would strengthen and thicken it.

Very preet picture, what a shame it's already gone!

Have a lovely weekend

Warm wishes
Isabelle x

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