Wednesday, May 17, 2006

BALCONY LORE


I've always known that, once I had one of these on my kitchen balcony, I'd feel truly Italian. [I haven't treated you to the edifying sight of my "smalls" drying upon it.] Larger items are, of course, placed on the strong clothes line hanging over the balcony. Ever since the balcony drain incident I've been wary of hanging hand-washed, still dripping washing from it, though other women don't seem to worry and you can get your hair a very thorough wash as you walk down the street under their balconies.

Thinking about gaffes I have made since coming here, it occurred to me that a gaffe an Italian might make in Britain would be to hang washing on or from a balcony, for in Britain this is just not done. For those of you who are not British, this is not, as you might imagine, because of the inclement weather, but because it is deemed to spoil the look of a place. There are even neighbourhoods where you are not supposed to hang washing outside at all. How crazy is that?!

Here, on a hot day like today, I do enjoy having my washing dry within the hour.

If you are indoors you have only to look across at other balconies to know that the Scirocco is blowing or imminent, as that's the only time when nobody hangs any washing out.

At one time, in Sicily, it was considered incorrect to hang out women's underwear where it could be seen - and probably still is, in some parts.

1 comment:

Julia Hilbourne said...

These are an absolute joy to read while desk bound in Cardiff looking out at the grey, cold & dreary May weather outside my office window. I particulary love the little British idiosyncrasies that you mention, which you don't think about when you live here but sound so silly when you read them in black and white! Loved the shopping observations aswell, can't believe your change is plonked on the counter instead of in your hand! I would find that most rude so I'm glad I've been forewarned! I do enjoy reading these, keep them coming!

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