Wednesday, 18 June 2014
It was the perfect day to do a big wash - hot, sunny, not a cloud in the sky. Here are some lovely old towels drying on my boyfriend's mum's patio in that hot sun - but they weren't what we set out to treat with suds on that gorgeous day.
There's a tradition in Finland to wash your cotton rag rugs by the river or by the sea on a nice day before Juhannus a.k.a midsummer. We own a few rag rugs too and they were overdue for a clean, so boyfriend's mum offered to help us. It's quite the physical job, scrubbing, lifting and wringing heavy soaked rugs under a huge mangle - I couldn't really give my all to it because of the bump. I did help a little but mainly boyfriend and his mum tackled the soapy rugs, while I hung around enjoying the sun and taking pictures.
The Finns have a nice traditional soap for this kind of job. It's made of pine resin and it smells like clean sauna.
The river water, which is set up to pump through the hoses and taps over the special rugwashing troughs was ever so clean. We were so desperate to clean up our vintage white rag rug which looked more grey than white at that stage, that we brought it along even though we expected it to be somewhat tinted by the algae living in the river water. But it cleaned up very nicely and surprisingly without any disturbing discolouration. That's a lot saved on the drycleaners' bill!
While the rugs were drip-drying on the wooden racks, we also dried ourselves in the sunshine and had a simple picnic. We forgot to bring a picnic blanket but my newly thrifted two-euro tablecloth-check dress made up for it I think...
It's Juhannus on Saturday - the longest and brightest day of the year.
With a sweet-scented sprig of Juhannus-rose (against our riverwashed white rug as backdrop), I'm wishing every one of you a lovely summer solstice in advance for the 21st! Let it be a sunny midsummer!