10 Annotations

neven   Link to this

I found other washing day references so far letting Google search on this combination: "washing day" site:www.pepysdiary.com --- this could come in handy for other cross-references.

Martin   Link to this

Tomorrow being washing day.
This seems to be just an off-hand notation, just as Sam notes many other kinds of minutiae. Washing day, every Tuesday, does not seem to require any particular changes in his routine like making himself scarce at home -- other Tuesdays including "lying long in bed," coming home for dinner, etc.

Mary   Link to this

washing day.

Was no mean undertaking in the Pepys (or any similar) houshold. A certain status was implied by the infrequency of wash-days (i.e. you had enough fresh linen to last you through several weeks together)and some great houses had a Great Washing Day only twice a year.

Sam doesn't particularly enjoy washing days; the house (especially in winter, when linen had to be dried indoors) was a mess and there would only be cold cuts for dinner as cooking and washing did not go together. In this instance his "so home and to bed, tomorrow being washing day" implies that he wants to get some sleep before the house stirs in the early hours to start this major household task.

Martin   Link to this

Frequency of washing day
A search on just "washing" yields Tuesday washing-days apparently on Tue 19 Nov 1661, Tue 5 Feb 1661, Tue 11 Dec 1660, Tue 20 Nov 1660 and Tue 17 July 1660. Two of these are three weeks apart, but there's not enough to establish whether there's a pattern. It could be irregular. Clearly he doesn't always mention it.

Rex Gordon   Link to this

Washing day ...

... was a MAJOR undertaking, beginning in pre-dawn hours and lasting well into the night, completely upending and disrupting household routine. It was physically rigorous. For an excellent description of a typical washing day, see Clare Tomalin's biography of Sam. (I'd quote it but I don't have it here at work.)

Ruben   Link to this

for those interest in washing, we had already been to this before and you will find annotations, details and also graphics of the instruments of torture used for the tasd somewhere in this site, more or less a year ago.
Someone also cited a nice history of the washing machine.

vicenzo   Link to this

Oh! Sam, Monday be wash day, I guess it took Monday to get enough suds ready?
such a modern phrase "...buy some things ..."

language hat   Link to this

For a great description of washday, see the beginning of Penelope Fitzgerald's novel The Blue Flower:

"Jacob Dietmahler was not such a fool that he could not see that they had arrived at his friend's home on the washday. They should not have arrived anywhere, certainly not at this great house, the largest but two in Weissenfels, at such a time. Dietmahler's own mother supervised the washing three times a year, therefore the household had linen and white underwear for four months only. He himself possessed eighty-nine shirts, no more. But here, at the Hardenberg house in Kloster Gasse, he could tell from the great dingy snowfalls of sheets, pillowcases, bolster-cases, vests, bodices, drawers, from the upper windows into the courtyard, where grave-looking servants, both men and women, were receiving them into giant baskets, that they washed only once a year..."

You can read the opening pages using Amazon's "look inside the book" feature:

Martin   Link to this

"we had already been to this before"
OK. Some of us came in late. Sam repeats a lot so this kind of thing will happen. When citing prior discussions links would be nice. In this case it was 20 Nov 1660.

Ruben   Link to this

"we had already been to this before"
Martin: I looked for the link, but did not find it. My memory is better than my computer skills…
I am sure that it was better to send you to the old annotations than otherwise.

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