No, honestly, I really do.
There is something so satsifying about turning a pile of dirty laundry into neatly folded, sweet smelling clothes that just appeals to my obsessive compulsive inner housewife. (Also, have I mentioned that I like cleaning? Yes I do. I don’t even know how I ever became a feminist.)
I am one of those people who match socks when hanging them. I am very particular about how trousers are hung (you peg near the ankle and never, ever hang from the waist. Never. That is against all natural laws. I hyperbolise not.) I bite my tongue when my partner does the laundry and try my best not to re-arrange, although he’s almost learned by now the specific way I like laundry hung. He always does knickers and socks right.
I never realised how much I liked doing laundry until we moved to the UK. In Brisbane, laundry was always done on a weekend morning. All of it. Saturday mornings were given over to listening to the washing machine whirring away. Things dried on the line in a matter of hours and were taken in and put away. A weekend of rain meant a larger pile of laundry for the following weekend but very rarely did it rain two weekends in a row. You could always trust there would be some sunshine to dry everything. The only danger was if you left your laundry on the line at around 3pm in summer. Your lovely, dry laundry would get drenched in a matter of minutes if a storm blew in. But in Brisbane, I resented laundry. Sometimes, it absorbed my entire weekend.
In the UK, we first lived in a flat with no balcony. The only place to hang laundry was indoors. To (one of ) my sister’s great amusement, the washing machine was in the kitchen (in Brisbane, it was in the space under the house, always outside, always separate.) I got into the habit of doing loads of laundry throughout the working week: my clothes hung drying while I was away at work; I put them away when I got home and the living room was useable; I’d fill it up again with laundry shortly before going to bed. It was a system that left our weekends free. A system I continued even when we moved to a house with a yard, and one I carry on in Melbourne, too.
On our bike trip, I obsessed over laundry. You learn when on the road that you don’t actually need to do laundry that often and clothes can be worn more than three times. Maybe even more than five times. This I already knew from hiking: when you hike and camp, you have three sets of clothes: one for walking, one for sleeping and one set of clothes for travelling to and from the walk. That’s all you need. (okay, you also need warm clothes and layers and waterproofs but you get my drift, yes? I am not wearing different walking clothes every day. I just put on the same stinky shirt, because I’m just going to stink it out some more any ol how.) I had roughly this policy for riding: one set of clothes for cycling and one set for off the bike. As we were travelling for a long time, I splashed out and carried two sets of clothes for cycling and two for off the bike. Total extravagance.
But on ‘rest days’ (non-biking days), I worried about how to get everything clean. (Actually, I was more organised with my worrying. I usually did it a day or two before our rest days.) Only France had laundromats and sometimes we did not want to spend hours in a laundromat when there were chateaus to visit, cathedrals to gawk at and crepes to eat. In other places – notably Spain, Morocco and Albania – I worried about logistics. When, where, how? Hanging laundry was never a problem: we had two bikes and a nifty laundry line (two elasticated pieces of string twisted around each other, a clippy-hook-thing at either end. If you ever intend to travel for a long time, buy one of these.) And I had to resist photographing our drying laundry. I wanted to, almost every time I did laundry, because it all just looked so lovely to me: the prospect of clean clothes was so sweet. And we have maybe about 20 photos of our laundry hanging in a multitude of campsites, but I’ll only show you one.