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Washing Lines

Many years ago I work alongside a classroom assistant who took enormous pride in hanging her washing up early in the morning in the Summer months.

I was teaching in a rural school in north west Essex an area of fertile farmland, pretty villages, lush green woodland and thatched cottages. In my mind Carol would hang her white linen in a garden surrounded by apple trees, wild flowers and carefully planted flower beds. Of course I never went to her house or saw her garden and she could just as easily have hung old jeans and black socks, but the image of a washing line hung with fresh clean white linen still makes me smile.

However what I don’t like seeing is my neighbour’s abandoned washing after 5 days hanging limply and somehow looking grubby. On Sunday a rain cloud appeared and threatened to further dampen the recently dried laundry and so I took the decision to bring her washing in and leave it in her stairwell.

Maybe next time I won’t bother because she completely blanked Him when he was walking Jack in the evening.

You have to look at things from all perspectives sometimes. I was getting frustrated at seeing the abandoned washing, assumed she was working too hard to bring it in and thought I was doing her a favour. She was possibly affronted that I had removed her family’s personal belongings.

Changing how we do things takes confidence. We have to consider all the obstacles, look ahead and keep our goals alive and active. We have to take others with us on our journey but let them go if they can’t or don’t want to keep up.

I like my washing line to look neat and organised but there is a process to achieving that: the linen has to get dirty first, then sorted, washed, hung and collected. Some of it will need further attention and require ironing and careful attention to put it away while other items are quickly discarded in a drawer to be used regularly. I make allowances for the weather and plan the best washing days in a week.

As I prepare to move my team to our new Provision I must ensure that I plan accordingly and recognise that any change can be an upheaval and cause some anxiety. We are on this journey and we will get it right for society’s more vulnerable young people.

Washing line – a poem

Pegged down and held fast

Like sails tied to a mast.

A clean fresh laundered smell

The sun is out and all is well.

A cloud appears I worry not

The forecast said it will be hot.

I make my bed and prepare to sleep

And breathe the outside in – breathe in deep.

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