Station: [21] Laundry Room

One thing I do not understand is why humans always make such a fuss about keeping things clean. Washing day, small wash, big wash, hard-working washerwomen and on and on and on.... 

Cleanliness is very important; you can take it from me as an experienced feline. But if you ask me, the following suffice: a rough cat tongue, plenty of time, and nothing else to do. First, find a place in the sun, then start with the paws, they need extensive and intensive licking, then use the clean paws to wipe the nose, jaw and ears – absolutely crucial, the ears! And then the tummy, the tail and the back. And when you're done, start all over again. Any little kitten could do it!

This laundry room is actually perfect for my washing ritual, because – the heating is housed in the basement, and so it’s always nice and toasty in here. You can stretch out on the floor and spend ages washing yourself in peace and licking and grooming and washing...

Except, of course, on washing day. Then all hell breaks loose, there’s lots of coming and going, and not a moment's peace. The farmer's wife, her daughter Linda and the maid lather it all up and start rubbing and scrubbing and pounding and wringing and drying and putting it all through the mangle and doing -- oh! who knows what else. 

It takes a concerted effort, because it all has to be done in a day. That’s the only way it's worth the effort... according to the women, at least.

And it always follows the same pattern: first the copper is heated up, then the curd soap is grated into the hot water, and the laundry is put to soak. And then it’s the turn of the washboards and a big bar of curd soap. There’s a great deal of rubbing and scrubbing, until everything is covered in soap-suds. To rinse, the ladies pound their laundry in clear water until all the soap residue has been rinsed out. Then the washing is hung up and left to dry over night. Actually, between you and me, the styles worn by the Kliemts, men as well as women, do leave something to be desired: shapeless little shifts, big bloomer underpants... Back in the day, when I lived at court in Paris... but no matter! Anyway, after it’s all dry, the laundry still needs smoothing. To do this, they have mangles. Those are devices with a pair of rollers, and you feed the laundry in between the rollers. Or sometimes, they put a slab of cast iron into the fire, heat it up and then insert it into the back of a box iron to smooth the laundry with a combination of weight and heat. 

All that effort, and for a result they could achieve so much more easily! Because after not even a month, the whole performance starts over again from the beginning! And yet all human beings need is to take time out for two or three hours a day, and devote themselves to exhaustively grooming their fur... or rather, grooming their artificial fur, what they call "clothing".

I, for my part, am now going to do just that: I’m going to take a little break after all this work... find a nice comfy spot... indulge in a bit of grooming... and maybe a little nap...? My goodness, showing visitors around is somewhat tiring. So I'm going to say goodbye. Feel free to stay a little longer and enjoy my humble domain. Perhaps you’d like to go and visit the sheep and make sure they’re all right. Anyway, I shall now withdraw. Do grace me with your presence again soon: Goodbye.

All depictions: © Schlesisch-Oberlausitzer Museumsverbund gGmbH