Linge dans le Mistrals

I know, I know… I’m jumping ahead a bit but it seems most fitting that I put this post in now rather than later. It seemed to me that an opportunity like this couldn’t be missed. I remember as I was planning my director was telling me it’s cold here. There was part of me that thought, “yeah I’m sure it is…” Wouldn’t you? It’s Provence for goodness sake! In the same breath I did take it in stride but more because I knew the house didn’t have central heating and it was likely to be castle living with drafts galore. So it’s half true… this is the land of eternal sunshine BUT the windchill has the temperature feeling like -16 and the winds blow like you’ve never seen it before.

If you’ve ever been to Europe or anywhere outside of North America you’re probably well aware that the dryer is a lovely machine which a greater part of the world lives without. Well we have one, but no one uses it and I was doing some hand-washing anyways so it wasn’t even an option. In particular it was the sweater I scrambled to pick up with my mom at Aritzia minutes before the shops closed the night before I left. I am so thankful we did because it’s been like a second skin to me! It was high time for a wash so I pulled out a basin and began to knead it into the soapy water in a most rhythmic fashion. The water froze my fingers in the laundry room and as I finished I rinsed and tried to press out all the remaining moister I was able. I scurried down the stairs from the kitchen to hang it out on the line because it’d been warmer out and I didn’t want to have to account for the puddle on the floor it was otherwise likely to create.

So I should probably back up a little here because this house is three storeys tall. We all sleep in the bottom floor, the kitchen and work spaces are in the middle and guest rooms are upstairs. There’s only one thing, our floor and the main floor aren’t attached indoors! We run out the stairs from the kitchen downward to our little warm living space. So every work day we boil up several kettles of water for tea, coffee or other tisanes thus… there’s always the need for a bathroom break. Well that brings me onto the next thing! The bathroom on the main floor is sooo drafty and the window is so low it just feels, well, awkward – and freezing! So most of us opt to run outside and to the warmer bathrooms. So back to my story! I was up to just that – I was running down the stairs to the refuge of our bathroom when I looked out at the line in horror, “EW! What is on my sweater!?” I wasn’t sure what it was from the small distance and due to my haste, not to mention I was FREEZING. But as I got closer I nearly couldn’t catch my breath from laughter. My sweater was forming icicles! You heard me right, icicles and it was probably in less than an hour! With my arms full I tried to snap this one photo. I figured no one would believe me unless I had proof it actually happened!

I left it there for quite a while anyways hoping the sun might hit it and, again, keep the moisture outside but when the sun had passed I needed to bring it inside and I used two hands and so gently had one hand on each side slowly removing it from the line trying not to crack it. I don’t think it would have actually done any damage but I couldn’t bear the thought so I carried the folded “sweater plank” inside to the usual drying rack where I laid the plank on it’s side until it had softened and I could properly hang it again. It’s fine now but that’s Provencal living for you! Turns out it does go sub zero here after all…

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