Only in America would they come up with a detailed guide to hanging out the washing – Susan Morrison

The headline startled me. It said: “How to hang your laundry outside.”

Friday, 23rd April 2021, 12:30 pm
Not every day is quite as good as this one for hanging out the washing (Picture: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Admittedly, it was an American newspaper. Our transatlantic cousins are great ones for setting up a workshop, whether it be for locating your inner self or braiding nasal hair, but lessons in laundry?

Being American, they went into some detail, involving checklists, sustainable rope for lines and ecologically sensitive pegs. There was a diagram of how to hang up shirts and jumpers. There were instructions on checking weather reports to make sure you had enough sunshine.

Checking weather? Is it raining/snowing/apocalyptic storms? Right now? No, then get the sheets out.

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Scotland has never had the luxury of waiting until Mother Nature played nice. Other nations regard sunny days as an opportunity to fire up the barbie. We see glorious weather and our thoughts turn to getting a washing out, but we'll try our luck on days as grim as Gordon Brown’s temper.

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Rain roulette is a Scottish skill. We’ll scan the skies with weather-watchers eyes and think, what’s my chances of getting this dry before that cloud literally rains on my parade?

It's a game for all the family. Should I, or any pegging-out parent, leave the house, stern instructions will be fired out to keep all eyes peeled like demented Air Raid Wardens and move like raptors lest one raindrop hits the good bedding – 400 thread count, mate, it’s quality stuff.

The article extolled a mild breeze. I’ve rescued knickers from gardens two postcodes away. I’ve seen duvet covers fly over the Forth to Fife. Sometimes I worry for renewable energy farms. Can wind powered turbines function festooned with fly-away fabric?

They wittered about temperature. I’ve taken sheets from icy lines and they’ve cracked. Shirts frozen stiff.

It’s like the Americans have just discovered hingin’ oot. Imagine living in Arizona. Where’s the challenge in hanging laundry out there? It's practically an extreme sport over here.

We should punt a TV show called “Peggin’ Out: Scottish Style”. Three teams of Yanks, pegging out a duvet set during a howling gale with snow moving in. That’s hanging out laundry.

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