ADRIENNE'S HIV BLOG – Hivine's Weblog

HIVINE is written by HIV positive women but still with a sense of humour

Pegging Out

    Isn’t it funny how certain people and certain things can affect your life and send you haring off in a completely different direction; for example, if it wasn’t for the fact that I was HIV positive, I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this blog, which has been in existence now for almost a year and although I know in the great scheme of things it can’t really make that much of a difference, as much as I would like it to, every little helps and I hope in its often bizarre and eccentric way, it is helping to raise awareness about HIV and reduce stigma for all of the other invisible women out there, who for one reason or another are denied a voice.

    Internet surfers often find their way to this site by accident by typing something into the search engine that is not necessarily HIV related and arrive at hivine completely by chance, which if you think about it and although it is usually an unconscious gesture on my part, is a great way of getting the message across, above all when you consider that even though the statistics of the newly diagnosed continue to rise, especially amongst women and in particular right here the north west, very little is said about it in the media. Let’s see if this World Aids Day it is any different.

    Some of the recurrent search engine terms that lead unsuspecting surfers to the ever open hivine door are; spider; get out of bed, bottom enhancer and rather bizarrely the Benidorm bark. The most popular search engine term however continues to be related to knitting, although I feel this might have something to do with the photo kindly donated by a Scottish friend of mine of his magnificent knitted underpants, complete with hand stitched diamond crotch. I have only had one slight problem with surfers of a more pervy nature and that was the time I wrote about having my willow tree trimmed. I won’t specify what type of willow it was in case the same thing happens again, but I am sure you can use your imagination.

    Anyway, even if I’ve accomplished nothing else with this blog, at least there are an army of arachnophobics, people of a lazy disposition with enhanced bottoms who don’t want to get out of bed, Benidorm barkers and hand knitted willy warmer wearers, who are now better informed about HIV, alongside of course the Knitting Nancy brigade wielding their knitted dishcloths and hopefully, soon, if my cousin has anything to do with it, peg bags.

    The knitting blog in question was in fact originally inspired by my lovely cousin of ‘Viv Lives’ fame, who with her stalwart knitting endeavours to get through the awful ordeal of her battle with cancer, was the inspiration for my ‘Knitting Nancy’ piece, which continues to direct random surfers, knitters and possibly even nits to the site and still receives the most hits, so in this way she has also contributed to raising awareness about HIV to the masses and therefore I have sent her an official letter signed by the Queen of the of hivonia (i.e. my good self) that she might well be in line for some kind of award.

    Even though thankfully my cousin has lived and survived her ordeal (check out latest ‘Radioactivists -Viv Lives 6′ on links) she has still continued to knit and the other day when I was feeling a bit down because of my recent blip, a brown paper parcel arrived on my mat.
    “Who can be sending me a parcel?” I muttered my thoughts out loud to myself, as sadly I haven’t got anyone else to mutter them too, apart from my son, who wouldn’t be seen dead at that time in the morning and to be honest, it’s better a case of letting sleeping dogs lie – as in bed, as like any male he can be a bit grumpy on arising.
    “I haven’t ordered anything recently from a catalogue have I?” I questioned my short term memory, “And my birthday is now long gone, so who can it be from?”

    I had a little feel and a crafty poke (as the actress allegedly did to the bishop) and lifted it up to my ear for a rattle. Then I put it down on the kitchen table and walked over to put the kettle on in order to prolong the joyous anticipation of opening it. However, always the impatient type, I couldn’t wait for the kettle to boil and rushed back to the table and tore off the brown paper to reveal a package within, wrapped in silver paper and tied with a silver ribbon.

    I carefully undid the bow and inside the package was a beautifully knitted black clutch bag with a bright red ribbon sewn on one side. I got quite choked when I saw the proud red ribbon and was touched by the time and obvious effort that had gone into the construction and design of the clutch bag.

    But wait a minute, I peeped inside the dark interior, there was something else inside the bag – a neat line of old fashioned wooden pegs, sometimes known as dolly pegs, attached to a piece of card. There was also a letter from my cousin Viv explaining the history of my very own custom designed peg bag (so that’s what it was) and describing in her inimitable graphic style the joys of pegging out the washing to dry on the line in the fresh air and how she and her mother before her, always took great pleasure in arranging the washing by size and coordinated colours.

    I have to say I was very impressed by her newly acquired skills as an artisan and craftswoman, especially the beautifully crafted wooden pegs which must have taken her ages to whittle – although I’d never had her down as a secret whittler. It’s strange what the prospect of a terminal illness can lead you to take up as a hobby – look at me for example with this blog. I think, however, my peg bag will remain as a collector’s rather than a utility item and stay a work of art, along the lines of Damien Hurst and Tracy Emin of unmade bed fame. In view of that I am encouraging Viv to try for a one woman exhibition of her works, as in this current financial crisis the only thing investors are putting their money in these days is art, therefore Saatchi & Saatchi might well be interested in taking on a new young/old, British/Welsh, artist/ peg bag knitter.

    If they aren’t, they jolly well should be, because the general public (at least the visitors to hivine) seem to have an ongoing interest in anything knitted, such as dishcloths, underpants, willy warmers and the like, so why not clutch or peg bags – or even crotch bags if the interest in willy warmers is anything to go by? After all, women need to keep their willies warm too, unless they are suffering from that burny itchy thing called thrush of course, or cystitis. I have therefore asked her, in the interest of art, as well as cystitus, to incorporate in her ‘Viv Lives’ slot, a regular update of her current peg bag progress and works in process.

    To be honest, between me and you, I am not quite sure what to do about my peg bag. It’s far too nice to keep pegs in and is, I’m ashamed to say, my very first peg bag, aside from a plastic basket from the hundred peseta shop in Ibiza, where the weather at least afforded one the pleasure of pegging out – and also where I very nearly did!

    On the few times when its not raining in Blackburn and I get the chance to hang my washing out to dry, I also take great pleasure in arranging the colours and sizes, which perhaps says something about us as a family, as in artistic, creative and possible sufferers of OCD. But it seems as a family we are not alone with our fixation about how we hang out our washing, as in the process of my research I came across this article on the ‘Good Housekeeping’ website under the heading, “Knickers on the Line – Do You Let It All Hang Out?”, which generated an ongoing debate amongst the country’s washerwomen.

    “It’s not that I am a peeping tom or anything,” says one lady, who by her voyeurish tendencies to spy on her neighbours clothesline obviously is, “But I have noticed that my female neighbours never hang their bras and knickers out to dry on the line. I generally do, but I am wondering whether I am committing a faux pas?”

    She was obviously not the only voyeur lurking on Britain’s housing estates, because this set off a whole train of discussion.

    “My knickers are usually from M&S or Debenhams,” writes someone who is obviously not Twiggy and doesn’t have much of a sex life if her choice of knickers are anything to go by, “Nothing eye-catching and I generally pop them in the centre of my rotary clothes line. My neighbours must either pop theirs into the tumble dryer or hang them to dry inside.” This woman engages in far too much popping for my liking –popping in, popping out. “However,” she continues, “she and others are quite happy to hang out their husband’s Y-fronts and boxers and children’s’ undies, but you never see any of their undergarments. Is it me or is it bad form to let it all hang out?”

    Why does she want to see her neighbour’s knickers – her neighbour’s husband’s boxers or Y- fronts possibly, especially if with her obsession with popping he is popping out of them. Honestly, I’m quite shocked by what appears to be taking place on these seemingly innocuous housing estates. It’s like something out of “Desperate Housewives.”

    “Same here Rumbletum,” joins in another housewife, whose kids apparently call her knickers, ‘Mum’s applecatchers’. “I am a bit self-conscious about them,” she admits, (no wonder if she uses them to store her cox’s pippins), “But I notice I don’t mind any sexier items being more on display!”

    I was right, wasn’t I, there’s far more than meets the eye going on on these housing estates and this one’s obviously an exhibitionist. Talk about desperate housewives, it’s worse than the things that go on in Wisteria Lane.

    “I think I know what you mean Glifada,” agrees another desperate housewife, “I don’t hang anything on my little washing line, which is at the side by the utility door, (spare us the boring details please) I may use it from time to time for the floor covers, after my husband has done some messy work then I put them on the line till I’m ready to put them into the washing machine. But getting back to the neighbours…….mine puts her ‘smalls’ out with the gusset facing our direction…!!!!!! – and her t-towels are a little bit towards her back door slightly out of view. I would love to ask her to do it the other way round.!!!”

    What a lot of exclamation, as opposed to ‘skid’ marks, but maybe that’s what she’s implying about her neighbour – and why are t-towels more pleasing to her eye than gussets? That says a lot about her and her personal habits, not to mention her fruit basket. If it was that other woman who stores her apples in her knickers, she wouldn’t mind, she could keep her golden russets or maybe it should be golden gussets fresher for longer. I don’t know, this lot are all as bad as each other if you ask me, as the next washerwoman is in total agreement.

    “I couldn’t have put it better myself jambutty.”

    Jambutty?- how do they come up with all these daft names?

    “I hang mine (and everyone else’s in the family) out, and it’s never crossed my mind not to. What’s more, I even hang them in order of size and colour!”

    Ah, at last, a woman after my own heart.

    “My knickers go out but not the bras,” declares a more decisive washerwoman, “Not because I’m embarrassed, but my mum always said that sunshine can cause the elastic to perish more quickly. And my knick-knacks go on the inside of the rotary whirligig – modesty prevails – not that anyone can see them, unless they stand on something to look over the fence that is!”

    Have we become a nation of voyeurs or what – and who calls their underwear knick knacks – knick knack paddy whack give a dog a bone, I’ll refrain from the obvious play on the word ‘bone’ (as in rude) connection here.

    Another woman with less interest in her or anyone else’s knick knacks or whether her gussets swing politically to the left or the right and more concerns about green issues, raises the discussion up a notch, or a crotch, by talking about trying to reduce her carbon footproint whilst being legally prevented from hanging her washing outside. This according to ‘Good Housekeeping’ is an issue that faces thousands of washerwomen living in the UK, although I have to say, not as far as I know in Blackburn, where they couldn’t give a toss about what or whether you hang your knick knacks out on your line, as long as your nets are clean.

    “I live in a housing estate,” states one enraged reader, “where all the properties are legally bound to stick to something called the rentcharge deed, which includes the ludicrous provision that no one will hang out washing outside. The rentcharge deed was drawn up in the late eighties and I guess they just weren’t alive to environmental issues then! Do you have any info on the average carbon emmissions of tumble dryers per year, for instance by comparing it to herds of cows farting and might you know whether this prohibition on hanging washing out would mean that properties on our estate would be less likely to be rated highly for HIP purposes?

    What have hips got to do with it?

    “As you can imagine, I think the prohibition is completley daft and am very keen to get it overturned. The idea that someone could be taken to court for reducing their carbon footprint in this totally harmless way is just absurd! But I know that some people on the estate will take a lot of persuading, so I’d be extremely grateful for any ammo you can give me.”

    Watch out for this particular desperate washerwoman, I hope you don’t live on the same estate as her if her method of persuasion is to get her shot gun out.

    The Environment Agency estimates that £88m is spent on powering tumble dryers alone in the UK every year. And that if every family in the UK hung out one load of laundry per week it would save around 515,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions, that’s the equivalent of taking 100,000 cars off the road for a year. Every use of a tumble dryer generates enough carbon dioxide to fill 150 party balloons.

    So that’s it then, no more children’s parties, at least on that estate, unless it is near a farm and they can utilise the fourteen cows.

    This isn’t only going on in England by the way, it’s also happening in the USA where they have something called the Right-to-Dry campaign. For those desperate housewives who live in a flat and aren’t allowed to hang their husbands (as they tend to do on Wisteria Lane) washing out to dry, or send them to the cleaners financially, or even have a balcony to hang them over, or in the worst case Wisteria lane type scenario push them off, they offer the following eco-friendly solutions, particularly in relation to ex-husbands, such as an overhead drying rack (sounds like a good idea to me) or dryer balls. Athough I’d better be careful incorporating the term ‘dryer balls’ into this blog, as it might attract the pervy surfers back.

    Apparently in America they have a regular “National Hanging Out Day,” which they say is not about hanging out with friends, or hanging their husbands, although I can appreciate that some desperate housewives might feel like it at times. It’s a day aimed at demonstrating how effective using a clothesline can be in cutting back our contribution to global warming. And as for us, the determined washerwomen of Great Britain, no doubt we will stand up as ever against adversity, like our mother’s before us in the Second World War, who dug and determinedly hung out (in my mother’s case at Tony’s ballroom) and in the words of the once popular wartime song, which she probably danced rather than hung out her washing to – ‘We’ll hang out our washing on the seigfried line – have you any washing mother dear.’

    I don’t know what all the fuss is about really. The answer seems quite clear to me, if you want to shrink your carbon footprint use a higher setting on your washer, which is guarenteed to shrink anything, even trainers, although I suppose this would defeat the object slightly – but hey, us washerwomen and deperate housewives can’t be held accountable for everything to do with global warming, can we – and if you are a desperate washerman, or a desperate house-husband and want to avoid dryer balls, the solution is quite simple, just make sure you live near a field of fourteen cows.

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2 Comments»

  Willo wrote @

If the fences weren’t so high you would be able to see my undies hanging out on the line (when it’s not raining, that is!).

Like the size of the type, by the way!

  Venessa Listen wrote @

Thanks for posting. Good to see that not everyone is using RSS feeds to build their blogs 😉


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