A trip to the Railway Museum at Paekakariki in the weekend yielded some treasures that caught my eye. There was a selection of flour bags hanging up. These bags are often highly sort after and are quite collectable in some circles. No doubt all the flour mills advertised have long ceased business.
Also on display was a vintage Singer sewing machine. Ahhh, the memories that brought back. I think most households in New Zealand had one of these treadle machines in years gone by. Our family certainly did. I learned to sew on a machine just like this and made many items of clothing on our machine. There is something quite soothing about pushing the treadle up and down with your foot, while gently feeding the fabric under the needle. And those six long thin drawers always seemed contain all sorts of little interesting oddments to look through.
A very serious looking mangle was also on display. I could just imagine the poor colonial women and what they had to go through to do the weekly wash. Haul the water to put in the copper, light the fire and keep it going. Add the clothes, and boil for the prescribed time. How long – don’t ask me. Then fish the clothes out and feed through the mangle. Rinse in cold water, and through the mangle again. Don’t forget the blue rinse. Imagine the heat of standing over the copper, and the physical effort it would take to handle the wet washing through the mangle. No wonder the washing took all day. Life is so much easier these days.