Young at Heart: Undies drama lingers in mind

READING recently about our deputy editor Nicole’s camping memories triggered so many of mine that I felt it necessary to share another camping story with our hopefully forgiving readers!
This story concerns knickers, so if you don’t wish to read anything more about knickers I suggest you pull up the drawbridge now and depart.
One of the inescapable necessities of any camping holiday is the washing of clothes. With three daughters and one son I had oodles of washing every day, much of it focussed around the number of knickers three daughters could go through in a day! Three sons, one daughter would have been a story set in heaven if washing was the only criteria.
Each day, strung along between two trees would be a smorgasbord of colour, a fantasia of frippery, of petite, colourful miniscule knickers followed by one pair of my large, comfortable and extremely unattractive beige knickers, known to my daughters disparagingly as “claggies”.
As our daughters became teenagers the camping clothes line continued to be adorned with various bits of female clothing, an occasional boxer shorts or T-shirt of husband or son, but gradually those “claggies” of mine became a source of huge embarrassment to our daughters as various young men came a’courtin’. Eventually there reached a climax in which a delegation was sent,  in the shape of the oldest sister, to request, indeed demand, that certain “claggies” were to be dried inside the tent away from public eyes.
I proudly demurred initially until a vote was taken, and in a pathetic display of defeatism I capitulated to all demands. My claggies disappeared from sight on all future family holidays.
Forward 30 years and my good man and I were staying at a rather upmarket, elegant apartment of a very generous friend for a week, in Marvellous Melbourne, where we were intent on improving mind and spirit with a feast of music.
I had washed out my knickers (i.e. claggies) and inconspicuously placed them over a chair on the balcony to dry.
Off we went for a day of music and festivities. Returning late at night I checked the balcony and the knickers had disappeared.
The following morning my mortified husband announced their discovery, strategically caught in the branches of a very tall poplar, totally out of reach to all but the brave or the foolish, but clearly visible to passersby. There was no way he was going to be seen manfully attempting to rescue those knickers. As far as he was concerned they had nothing to do with us.  Full stop, not to be mentioned again.
 Fortunately the tree itself was under the balcony of the apartment next door.  Now that was a stroke of luck!
Clearly the wild winds during the day had decided to wreak havoc and cause mischief.  
As we left each day from the apartment the knickers waved, I imagined, almost soulfully at us.
Each day I looked hopefully for signs that the tree might be loosening its grip; all utterly to no avail. 
At the end of our week of music I checked one last time in the vain hope that another night of high wind and rain may have caused the knickers to dislodge.  There was no discernible change in their status. It appeared to me that there was every likelihood the knickers would still be there in another three years when we intended returning for the same festival of music. 
There is no happy ending to this story. I still have to ’fess up to the owner of the apartment. Thank goodness she has a sense of humour.

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