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 Phew, what is that pong?

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PostSubject: Re: Phew, what is that pong?   Sat 05 Apr 2014, 15:18

One has to believe that something is going on inside their minds Gil. After all if they don't want a bag of poo then it doesn't make any sense as to why they have gone to all the trouble of bagging the poo in the first place.

By throwing a plastic bag of poo aside or hanging it on a branch (or even putting it in a bin), all they're doing is leaving a bizarre package for their grandchildren to have to deal with. Moreover if it's in woodland or parkland etc then they've spoiled that walk indefinitely and not just for others but also for themselves the next time they take that route. The bag will still be there. Heaven knows what health insurance premiums future archaeologists will have to pay if they decide to excavate the early 21st Century.

I'd be interested to know if these 'fragrant flowers' are a phenomenon evident in other countries, or if it is yet another example of the UK's chronic inability to deal with its litter and waste problem.
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PostSubject: Re: Phew, what is that pong?   Sat 05 Apr 2014, 18:44

Surely they pick it up because they can be fined if they don't so as they approach the woods, the dog defecates (as dogs do), the owner picks up the detritus only to discard it as soon as they are unobserved. AIUI, round here the contents of the "dogloos" are removed by the council and incinerated.
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PostSubject: Re: Phew, what is that pong?   Tue 03 Jun 2014, 16:53

Getting away from dog poo...

I'm very interested in the history of perfume and how famous scents from the great perfumiers can become associated with certain eras and certain famous people.

How appropriate for our times that some of Dior's most recent "fragrances" (the modern word - how Nancy Mitford would hate it!) are called Opium, Addict and Poison.

I have been reading this week a biography of Jean Rhys, the writer most famous for her Jane Eyre prequel The Wide Sargasso Sea: the Rhys biography, by Lilian Pizzichini, is named after a famous scent, L'Heure Bleue. The French perfumier Jacques Guerlain concocted this fragrance in 1912 from musk and rose de Bulgarie with a single note of jasmine. He intended this new perfume to evoke the twilight hour in Paris - an apparently romantic thought; and indeed L'Heure Bleue smells rather odd today, "romantic" and old-fashioned, far too sweet and flowery and powdery - at first -  for a modern woman. Yet, like Rhys's difficult and unhappy heroines, it is a deceptively simple and naïve scent: that base note of musk is always there. It develops as the fragrance "settles" and the sweet notes fade away. Those women of the early decades of the twentieth century were perhaps more sophisticated - and far more  predatory - than the "liberated" girls  who were born after the Second World War. Here's Pizzichini's description of L'Heure Bleue:

"The scent itself is dusky, as though bought from an old-world apothecary on a forgotten street in Paris. Its hints of pastry and almonds make L'Heure Bleue a melancholic fragrance, as though in mourning for a time passed by. The curves of the Art Nouveau bottle, the stopper, in the form of a hollowed-out heart, allude to the romance of the years leading to the First World War. The story Jean Rhys told in Quartet (where the heroine's rival wears the Guerlain scent) describes the last days and weeks of a relationship, the loss of love and safety, and implicitly, the death of old Europe."

L'Heure Bleue was Rhys's favourite perfume. Her own story - far from being sweet and powdery and innocent like the top notes of Guerlain's perfume - was grim: she led what would be described today (I suppose) as a "car-crash personal life". The base notes of her existence were fascinating, deep, but alienated: in the end, the stuff of tragedy.


http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/jean-rhys-prostitution-alcoholism-and-the-mad-woman-in-the-attic-1676252.html
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PostSubject: Re: Phew, what is that pong?   Sat 18 Mar 2017, 12:52

Meles meles wrote:
Islanddawn wrote:
It appears people in the Middle Ages bathed quite a bit, more often than their descendants right up to more modern times. 

For the medieval person of middling wealth it actually made a lot of sense (even with their misgivings about the health risks), to bathe reasonably often. When the only common degreasants were based on lye (extacted from wood ash) and the only readily available bleaching agent was stale urine, it was a lot easier to keep one's body clean and so avoid soiling ones garments, than it was to clean expensive silks, satins, felt and furs, which even with modern detergents are tricky things to treat.

A few months ago I was helping a relative settle the affairs of her widowed step-mother who had died. As is often the case with an elderly person who has lived alone for a long while, the property was a veritable curiosity shop of items old and new jumbled together. In a corner of one room an old item, dismantled in sections, prompted a sense of recognition and familiarity in me. It took a while to realise what it was and then I remembered my own widowed grandfather still using a manual wooden mangle to help dry his clothes as late as the 1970s. I had assumed that mangles for drying clothes dated back to the middle ages but was surprised on research the learn that they only date from the 19th century.

This led me to thinking about just how did people dry clothes in the past. In the British Isles with its damp climate, hanging them up before a fire would seem to be the most efficient method. Hanging clothes outside is only effective on dry and warm days. But that's just a guess. I also began to consider the well known phrase regarding "airing one's dirty laundry in public". Note the wording. The laundry is being aired rather than dried as such. And more importantly the laundry (or in an alternative phrase the linen) is 'dirty'. It would seem that laundry was simply being aired, rather than washed as such, presumably as a short-cut to freshening it up. One wonders just how widespread or effective this technique was/is.
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PostSubject: Re: Phew, what is that pong?   Sat 18 Mar 2017, 13:32

I was quite surprised to learn recently that clothes-pegs to attach laundry to a line only came into use in the late 18th century. Up until then the unusal practice was just to spread laundry on the grass or drape it over bushes, tree boughs, or horizontal cords, but without any clothes-peg to attach them, The design of a simple one-piece wooden peg to attach drying clothes to a rope was patented by a Belgian, Jérémie Victor Opdebec in 1847, and although this seems very late, apparently there are very few illustrations of drying clothes pegged or otherwise attached onto a clothes-line much before this date. Whatever did harassed housewives do on windy days?

PS

Hanging clothes before the fire was certainly a common drying method. If memory serves isn't that how the plague arrived at Eyam, Derbyshire in 1665: a parcel of cloth from London had got damp on the journey so the taylor hung it up to dry in front of the fire ... and while the cloth dried the plague fleas inside were revived by the warmth. Within a week the taylor and his apprentice were both dead.


Last edited by Meles meles on Sat 18 Mar 2017, 13:49; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Phew, what is that pong?   Sat 18 Mar 2017, 13:34

Didn't most Victorian kitchens - and laundry rooms - have a pulley contraption for drying and airing clothes? They are still popular today. I have a friend who has what she calls a "laundry room" (utility room?) with a modern version - the "Kitchen Maid". They are very trendy, I believe.

I have two wooden "clothes horses" which are very good for drying wet things (and airing ironed stuff) overnight in front of a wood burner. Much better - and cheaper - than a tumble dryer.



I believe - certainly in Tudor times - clean linen was the mark of a gentleman or gentlewoman: linen undergarments were regularly washed and sometimes changed several times a day. In The Merry Wives of Windsor, Falstaff hides in a laundry basket filled with "foul shirts and smocks, socks, foul stockings, greasy napkins" and complains of the "rankest compound of villainous smell that ever offended nostril." Surely mere "airing" would not suffice for "foul", sweaty linen - thorough washing was essential. Wool, silk and other outer garments would, however, be regularly aired - or sent for "freshening", as it was called.

According to Tracy Borman in her "The Private Lives of the Tudors", "most ordinary people owned two or three sets of linen underwear, but members of the royal family had dozens of undershirts and would change several times a day. Their highest-ranking courtiers would have a similarly well-stocked linen cupboard and would change at least once a day. On average, each courtier would have about a week's worth of linen with them."

Henry VIII had a skilled laundress called Anne Harris. A set of court ordinances specified her duties very precisely: "The said Anne Harris shall weekly wash 7 long breakfast clothes (sic), 7 short ones, 8 towels, 3 dozen of Napkins and Pieces as need shall require; and by the same shall deliver as much...as shall be necessary to serve the King's Majesty."

There is an early seventeenth-century verse In Praise of Cleane Linen, which mentions the benefits of "sweet and neat linen", without which "thou would'st stink above ground like a beast" - I'll try and find it.
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PostSubject: Re: Phew, what is that pong?   Sat 18 Mar 2017, 13:45

A first thy Poet, never let him lacke

A comely cleanly Shirt unto his backe.
Cleane Linnen, is my Mistris, and my Theme


—John Taylor, In Praise of Cleane Linen (1624)
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PostSubject: Re: Phew, what is that pong?   Sat 18 Mar 2017, 14:31

I've just remembered something else that would support the idea that a laundress would spend most of her time washing linen rather than merely airing it: a laundress's hands were ruined by her work, becoming red and roughened by continual immersion in water. When Mary, Queen of Scots, made her first attempt at escape from Lochleven, she was disguised as a laundress. Unfortunately, one of the boatmen tried to pull her scarf away from the queen's face and she instinctively put up her hand to prevent him: the beauty of her well cared-for hands - whose long, white fingers the poet Ronsard had once praised as being as lovely as "five unequal branches" - betrayed her. This was not the hand of a laundress. The queen - with her bundle of dirty linen - was duly returned to the castle.
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PostSubject: Re: Phew, what is that pong?   Sat 18 Mar 2017, 20:08

My grandmother (and no doubt other women of her generation) used to sometimes dry garments on gorse bushes. She lived in a small town in North Wales (well it was small then). Some cottage gardens would be quite small without much room for a line I suppose. Of course these days we have the Marigold gloves (though I hate wearing them). Since my last washing machine went bump (I'm not sure it's worth buying another at my time of life) I go to the "whirly wash" and use the washing and drying machines there.

I remember one of those drying things, Temp, my father rigged up a very Heath Robinson one. In those days we had a kitchen range or "back to back" in the kitchen which was at the back of the dining/living room which in those days still had a coal fire.
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PostSubject: Re: Phew, what is that pong?   Sat 18 Mar 2017, 21:08

Glasgow Green was for centuries the common drying green for the city, not just domestically but also for the textile industry. Here it is still in use in the 1930s.





We may not hang out the washing there any more but all tenement dwellers still use their 'back green' for that. And the washing still dries, even in Scotland, even on a (mild, dry) winter's day.


In 1916 some people were still doing the actual washing on the Green and utilising railings as well as the poles provided.






This was despite the opening in the 1870s of public washouses, the famous steamies, this one in Partick opened in 1914.







When I was wee, my grandparents lived in one of the large and rather posh tenements in Pollokshields and the communal washhouse for their close was still at the bottom of the back green although the big copper for boiling the clothes had been removed during the war and now it served as a bin shelter.
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PostSubject: Re: Phew, what is that pong?   Sun 07 May 2017, 14:59

This is something that I’ve only fairly recently become aware of ... but here in southern France most towns and villages still have lavoirs – public wash-houses for doing laundry. Some admittedly are now maintained simply as historic sites, like the one in my own village, Corsavy ...



... but others are still very much in regular use.

Here’s the old one in the next village, Arles-sur-Tech, which I assume from its design was originally intended for laundry to be done, not by hand, à la main, but à pied.



That one is no longer used – hence the decorative plant pots – but the newer one just around the corner is certainly still in use, albeit perhaps more by tourists, walkers and campers, than by the local population:



And here’s the one in the next town, Amélie-les-Bains … a well-built, if modest, but still visually pleasing little building, which again is still in regular use:





But I don't think I've ever come across them in England ... although surely something similar must have been common.

(And just for the sake of my own civic pride ... note the absence of locked doors - or indeed of any door or gate at all - and yet despite this being a very open, public place, there's no litter, refuse, vandalism or graffiti).


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PostSubject: Re: Phew, what is that pong?   Mon 18 Sep 2017, 12:19

ferval wrote:
Glasgow Green was for centuries the common drying green for the city, not just domestically but also for the textile industry. Here it is still in use in the 1930s.





We may not hang out the washing there any more but all tenement dwellers still use their 'back green' for that. And the washing still dries, even in Scotland, even on a (mild, dry) winter's day.


Evidently Glasgow Green (or a similar location) was still in use in 1980 ...



.... which is one of the photos in the collection posted on the 'Historical Photos' thread by Trike: images of Glasgow taken by French photo-journalist Raymond Depardon in 1980:

Glasgow 1980
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PostSubject: Re: Phew, what is that pong?   Mon 18 Sep 2017, 12:45

Related to the above, are  places called "Bleachfields" of which there are a number scattered though the British Isles, usually in places associated textile manufacturing.

Bleachfield

Originally these were areas where textiles were laid out to bleached by the action of sun and water. The process became redundant with the adoption of chlorine bleaching.

Dutch painting of a bleachfield in the mid-17th century:

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PostSubject: Re: Phew, what is that pong?   Mon 18 Sep 2017, 13:14

That's just an ordinary back green in the midst of the mass demolitions that were taking place at the time whereas the Green was open to all in the district.

Regarding its days as a bleachfield, it's worth remembering that there were more people in Glasgow employed in textiles than shipbuilding and heavy industry from the mid 18th c. onwards and by the mid 19th there were at least 20000 working in the various trades. It remained important up until the early 20th c. One textile business that stayed a leader in its field was Templetons the carpet manufacturers with their spectacular building right on Glasgow Green.


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PostSubject: Re: Phew, what is that pong?   Mon 18 Sep 2017, 15:29

Trike wrote:
The process became redundant with the adoption of chlorine bleaching.

That comment triggered a memory of something I had read in a biography of Siegfried Sassoon - about Sassoon's lover, Stephen Tennant.

I became fascinated by Tennant's story a few years back and did a fair bit of research about him. Tennant was described as the "brightest" of all the bright young things of the late 1920s and early 1930s: he was a fully paid-up member of that aristocratic English jeunesse dorée who were determined to forget all about the nastiness of the war that still seemed, inexplicably, to obsess the fathers and the older brothers who had actually managed to survive it. Anyone born after 1905 found the whole subject simply too tedious for words. Why dwell on the past - now history - when London was full of fun, with endless parties, champagne, cocaine, cocktails and jazz?

Tennant could afford to enjoy it all because he was fabulously wealthy, which gets me to my point. He had a disposable annual income of around £8000 (no rent - the Tennant family owned several lovely properties in Scotland and England) at a time when an unemployed man was expected to provide shelter, food and medicine for himself, a wife and two children on State unemployment benefit of approximately £90 a year (32 shillings a week, according to George Orwell). But Stephen's money had something of the whiff of chlorine about it: the family fortune had been made through the ingenuity and acumen of Stephen's grandfather, the Scottish industrialist, Sir Charles Tennant. His family had had humble origins (they had been hill farmers in Ayrshire), but his successful formulation of a bleaching process, an invention which, "when tied to the linen manufacture that was Scotland's major contribution to the explosion of capitalism that was the Industrial Revolution" (Philip Hoare Serious Pleasures), made him one of the wealthiest men of the nineteenth century.

Yes, Stephen - rich, spoilt, elegant, artistic and, of course, jaw-droppingly beautiful - owed his  fabulous lifestyle to that less-than-poetic substance, bleach, manufactured in the less-than-poetic depths of industrial Glasgow.





Siegfried Sassoon wrote this to Stephen for the lovely lad's twenty-second birthday - April 21st 1928:

Because today belongs to you by birth
For me no other day can ever bring
The wildflower wonderment of wakening earth.
And so, till now, I have not seen the spring.


And neither, perhaps, had some of the workers in the family's hideous bleach factories.
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PostSubject: Re: Phew, what is that pong?   Mon 18 Sep 2017, 15:49

PS MM - I think you possibly would approve. Tennant turned up at a party in 1927, as reported by William Hickey in the Daily Express:

The Honourable Stephen Tennant arrived in an electric brougham, wearing a football jersey and earrings.
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PostSubject: Re: Phew, what is that pong?   Mon 18 Sep 2017, 16:34

In that above photo the poor lad appears to have a cold sore on his lower lip. So apparently even the most doré des jeunes occasionally suffered the temporary disfigurement of herpes simplex. You'd think he'd have masked it with lipstick.


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PostSubject: Re: Phew, what is that pong?   Mon 18 Sep 2017, 17:20

Oh, MM, you have completely ruined that picture for me - I'd never noticed the blemish before, but you are right. I think he has got a little bit of lipstick on actually.

Cecil Beaton was very, very jealous of Stephen, who had so much wit and beauty (and money), but the photographer got his own back when both were much older. Stephen had become something of a recluse and spent most of his time at his house in Wiltshire, spending hours lying in bed and drinking champagne on his own. But he did still have some visitors - and one day Beaton arrived with David Hockney. Tennant by now had put on a bit of weight and, being still rather vain, was desperate not to be photographed. Beaton cruelly still managed to get a shot of Hockney sitting on Tennant's bed, with Stephen wearing an old cardigan and sadly looking a lot less doré than in his glorious heyday.

He's actually still not bad-looking, but that wallpaper's dreadful.




Stephen later grew a beard, something Beaton noted in one of his diaries (memoirs which he fully intended for publication), commenting in a deliciously bitchy comment, "...the beard gave him nobility and distinction. He looked handsome like Saint Peter and it did not matter that he had no teeth."
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PostSubject: Re: Phew, what is that pong?   Mon 18 Sep 2017, 17:22

Apologies as usual - wandered away from both pongs and bleach.
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PostSubject: Re: Phew, what is that pong?   Mon 18 Sep 2017, 17:46

And here are those very bleach works at St Rollox, once the largest chemical factory in the world. It seems an odd choice of spot to have a picnic.



Demolished in the 60s, it is now the site of a very large Tesco.


The wee train is significant as well, Tennant was a chum of Stevenson and St Rollox also became the site of one of the great locomotive builders in the city. The products of these were taken through the streets to the docks where they were hoisted onto ships using the Finnieston Crane (or cran in Glaswegian). It's still a maintenance depot.




The wonderful George Willie celebrated and memorialised this with his installation: The Straw Locomotive.




ps. I hope Stevie's herpes confined to his lips...........
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PostSubject: Re: Phew, what is that pong?   Mon 18 Sep 2017, 20:27

Meles meles wrote:


Evidently Glasgow Green (or a similar location) was still in use in 1980 ...



.... which is one of the photos in the collection posted on the 'Historical Photos' thread by Trike: images of Glasgow taken by French photo-journalist Raymond Depardon in 1980:

Glasgow 1980

Meles meles,


Yes those were the times. I speak now from my childhood.
The washing machine:
Something like that, but instead of the flywheel an electrical motor and the tub was in wood, something like a beertub with clasps? and I still remember that the stirrer in the tub  had three blades in wood...

and washing with Vigor



And then hanging the wash on the clothesline to dry...
And then going to the (bleach grasslands?) with my grandmother to put them on the grass...
And holing back...
And starch it with a kind of potatopowder...

And nowadays I put the whole thing in the washing machine , add washing powder and prewash (washing softener?) push the button on the selected program and afterwards the stuff a bit on the line and then in the dryer and there it is ready to put it in the chest...
But yes after both processes the needed pieces have still to be ironed pale ...

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Phew, what is that pong?   Tue 19 Sep 2017, 12:54

Couldn't resist posting this:

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PostSubject: Re: Phew, what is that pong?   Tue 19 Sep 2017, 14:46

The Great Horse Manure Crisis of 1894:

Horse Manure Crisis 1894

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