Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Not woman's work

We have no dishwasher in our new flat in Valencia.

I’m using the word ‘new’ to mean new to us. The building is, in fact, nearly a century old, which is hardly ancient by Spanish standards, but certainly doesn’t qualify as recent either. So it’s our new flat in a relatively old Valencian building.

In any case, we haven’t put a dishwasher in. So I’ve just finished washing some dishes, making it all the more appropriate that I write this post, for reasons that will become increasingly clear as you read it.

Hanging washing out to dry in England is something of a gambler’s exercise. You have a reasonable chance that within a few hours – it seldom takes less than that – it’ll be dry. But you have as good a chance that it will be dripping wet again, indeed possibly wetter than when you took it out of the machine in the first place. England, it has been rightly pointed out, is a country without a climate but plenty of weather.

Valencia, on the other hand, has the kind of climate that makes it a joy to rely on. For most of the year, the temperature is neither uncomfortably hot nor unpleasantly cold. When the rain falls, it tends to be seen as a pleasant change and a welcome refreshment for plants, rather than yet another annoyance. Leading to a washing line full of clothes being drenched.

We haven’t been in Valencia long enough to have become used to our new state of affairs. Danielle still takes delight in hanging washing out on our pocket-balcony, and even more at being able to take it back in, bone dry, about five minutes later.

In fact, she enjoys it so much that she couldn’t resist saying so on FaceBook.

Danielle's FaceBook pic of our balcony washing line
Monica is a friend of ours who is Spanish herself but living in Eastern France. That's where we met her, during our time in or near Strasbourg. She replied to Danielles post to point out that hanging up washing should not be regarded as woman’s work and that I, too, should pull my weight.
Trying to show willing
Photos can’t lie, can they? So I’m delighted to include one of me fiddling with the buttons on the washing machine. I admit that this does not absolutely prove that I took charge of doing that load of washing, but at least it shows that I was interested in understanding the process. Which counts for something, doesn’t it?

Besides, I did try to pull my weight in other ways. For instance, when it came to the IKEA assembly tasks, it was I who undertook the bulk of them. Readily I might add. With pleasure even.
The joy of IKEA assembly
One of those tasks was particularly satisfying, though I’m not sure I should be admitting as much. What it led to was the kind of chair that led my stepson David to point out that, since I was now a granddad, it was time I had one. My view is that, since I’ve been a granddad for thirteen years now, it’s actually long overdue that I should be able to relax in a rocking chair.
Granddad’s delight. And Grandma’s too
Not, of course, that I expect to spend much time rocking. There’s work to do, and no reason to suppose that it’s specifically female. As Monica would no doubt point out, if ever I suggested otherwise.

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