Washing Lines Don’t Have to be Picturesque

Local colour. We love it. Washing lines suspended from distressed peeling-paint window frames, or stretched across characterful ancient narrow streets oozing character and Instagram appeal. But life moves on. Families get rehoused into concrete-and-brick tower blocks. But Monday is still washing day. Exchange the battered wooden windows for ones made from metal and pvc, and atmospheric Old Town alleyways for Le Corbusier’s vertical cities – then stick the washing out anyway.

Monday Washing Lines

Monday Window

Author: margaret21

I'm retired and living in North Yorkshire, where I walk as often as I can, write, volunteer, and travel as often as I can.

53 thoughts on “Washing Lines Don’t Have to be Picturesque”

  1. At least they get some fresh air! 😃 I was astounded when visiting friends in Rhode Island that is was unseemly to hang washing out, even though perfect drying weather! Went straight against my desire to dry washing outside if at all possible (just off to pick up socks strewn across lawn as I wash too rushed to peg them up last night!)😀

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  2. Excellent! Good observation and thinking. Is that an actual le Corbusier block in Barcelona? I wonder if there’s anything in the tenancy rules about not hanging washing out, or if that is a particularly British likelihood. Alas I’m one of the ones for whom doing so is not a possibility – and I love the smell.


    1. No, It’s not le Corbusier at all. Just high-rise. But most blocks in Spain seem to be build with windows facing an internal courtyard, utilities-for-the-use-of, so this is quite unusual. Bad luck! Commandeer that ground floor garden!


  3. We’ve always dried outside whenever possible. We once lived in a flat in Germany where we were not allowed to have washing in sight above the balcony so we had low level lines! We’ve also lived in places where we were not allowed to hang washing outside on a Sunday, or on holy days!

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  4. That is a nice washing line photo, Margaret. I do think it is energy -saving and healthy way to use washing line though.


  5. What is the problem with hanging out washing? The block where my father lives is strictly policed by the managing agents and any infringement of the ‘no drying washing on balconies’ is met with a curt note to desist. I think it’s a long held class thing, you know, posh people never sweat just perspire or glow, and never ever wash their own clothes let alone dry them on public view. I dried my washing outside on Easter Sunday 😱, quick, free, smells lovely and no cost to the environment.

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  6. I’m totally fascinated by the fact that so many people have photos of washing on lines. I can see that it’s picturesque, and I love that you’ve shown the modern reality. I guess I’ve always lived in houses, not flats, and had outdoor (backyard) places to hang the washing, so it’s just never been a “thing.” But of course, high density housing has come to NZ and every other balcony seems to have a drying rack next to the bbq and exercise bike.

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    1. I don’t know what it is, but we Brits don’t seem able to resist a good washing line in some picturesque Mediterranean destination. I’m glad that drying racks are a thing in NZ. Too many people here have their tumble driers on as a matter of course.

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