Dry your unmentionables by the fire, says Wendyl Nissen.
Forget the Queen's Jubilee, school class sizes or the Scott Guy case, there's been only one issue for discussion in my house this week, and that's the washing.
Not dishwashing but the washing of clothes and, most particularly, how to dry them.
It may not surprise you to know that we don't use a clothes dryer. "While there is a sun in the sky we have all the drying power we need," I tell my family.
We do have one for emergencies but if anyone wants to use it they have to fill out three forms complete with carbon copies.
"I need to wear my jeans in an hour," is usually how it goes.
"You should have thought about that yesterday when it was a beautiful sunny day and they would have been dry by now."
"Please," they whine.
"Just this once."
In summer, requests for the dryer are few but in winter I can no longer summon the sun's drying power. Instead, a few years ago, I took over the front veranda of our villa and installed old-fashioned clothes racks which operate by pulleys. You will be familiar with them if you've ever watched period dramas involving maids downstairs.
For years, clothes have dried very well there. But then I ruined it. I got a man to trim the many trees we have out front. They have shielded us from the reality of the street and given us wonderful privacy. But despite living in one of the country's most sought after suburbs we still have power lines that hang perilously off our house. Our trees were waving about in the storms and threatening to down the lot.
On the same day I had an appointment with my dentist. She gives me drugs which send me to another land. I emerge from the experience barely remembering anything she has done to me.
"Just trim them away from the power lines," I said to the man armed with a chainsaw. "Not too much, I don't want to see the neighbours."
And off I went to have my teeth done. The next thing I remember is my husband glaring and saying: "What have you done!"
I really couldn't have told him anything about the past five hours. "What! Did she take all my teeth out?"
"The trees. The neighbours. It's a disaster!"
My man had cleared the power lines but, in the process, exposed us to the entire neighbourhood by eradicating a few old palm trees. "The extra light is nice," I offered.
Then our daughter came home.
"The washing! Everyone can see our washing!"
There for everyone to see were articles of faded underwear plus some very tatty towels and worn-out pyjamas.
I thought our new exposed status simply said: "A very real, environmentally aware, green family lives here." But the rest of the family used words like "scruffy" and "unkempt".
"We'll just hang the undies inside by the fire," I said. "On those rack things people in apartments use on their balconies."
Now, visitors sit in our lounge averting their eyes from the racks of undies as they sip their wine.
"What have you done?" I asked my husband after I arrived home and smelt the distinctive scent of dry clothes.
"We're using the dryer. We went online and it costs 81c a load to run. "Think of it as an embarrassment levy," was all he said.By Wendyl Nissen Email Wendyl