Thursday, 16 May 2013

Wash Day

The washing hung outside most days,
sun and cloud and sometimes rain,
wind which blew it inside out and near and far away.

Like sheets from 29,
found their way from off the line,
fishing boat and tangled up and rigging wrap-around.

"Quite the fright for Jimmy Guthrie walking home from town."

And Eilidh's jeans,
fray and dye and rip the seams,
told her mother seagulls pecked and tore right through the knees.

"Eilidh darling what a sight you're never wearing these."

Then Andy Green - office worker, No 3.
grey and blue and white and check and long and short in sleeve,
20 shirts and 7 ties and 5 day working week.

"Andy only does a washing 12 times every year."

And Shona Wright - baby twins at No. 9,
cotton cloth and nappy pin and always turned out fine,
whitest linen in the row but never any time.

"When it rains there's terry towelling hanging up inside."

And you can walk,
cobbled pavement, harbour wall,
iron poles and coloured stone and painted wooden doors.

Length of line on eastern coast,
duck and weave and step through clothes,
hung to dry with passers-by and northern wind to blow... x

I was entertained on a recent visit to Cellardyke on the East Neuk of Fife,
by the communal washing line on the harbour walk. It is just as pictured below.

Harbour Washing Lines, Cellardyke, East Neuk
Artwork by Justine Marjoribanks


  1. That was just so wonderfully vivid. I was there picturing the street with all the different clothes lines. You are so talented. X.

    1. Thank you it really was the weirdest thing, to weave Izzy in her buggy through other peoples washing - like we were intruding - even though we were on the main path! x

  2. I read this this morning, and it has been on my mind on and off all day! I love the picture and the one you paint with words. It has such a 'people-watching' feel, which I love to do! x

    1. I remember thinking that if I lived there I'd be very careful about what I hung out to dry. I'm not sure I'd want all and sundry weaving their way through all my washing! There was a lovely quirkiness to it though x

  3. A wonderful post creating such a vivid picture. I want to visit now!x


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