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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 5, Issue 1 (May 1, 1930)

Pioneer of the Rag-wash Movement

Pioneer of the Rag-wash Movement.

Permit me, fatigued reader, with unbecoming immodesty, to file my claim as the pioneer of the rag-wash movement in New Zealand, with head-waters at Rotorua. In my garden on the fringe of Ohinemutu there lurked a simmering pool in comparative captivity. It was so deep that if it were turned upside down it probably would be as high as it was deep, and perhaps
“A mere dabbler in domestic disaster.”

“A mere dabbler in domestic disaster.”

page 15 more so, for it disappeared in a cleft of rock and left its antecedents open to conjecture. At becoming intervals I was wont to tie all my spare parts of physical furniture at the end of a long string, and whirling the consignment round my head like a fishing line, to lob it into the centre of the laundry, where it sank with a sigh of sensuous satisfaction into the heart of Nature. Ah, would that my shirts had been loud enough to speak; what tails they might have borne to me when I hauled them to safety and applied artificial inspiration—experiences, I doubt not, even more fearful than those a shirt faces in the average laundry.

Is it strange that their adventures undermined their fibre after three or four sulphurous immersions and excursions, so deeply that they came to the parting of the ways, and parted all ways at once in more ways than one, and were only fit to cut up for cigarette papers.

I claim no great credit for the rag-wash idea; like all such discoveries, it arose from a natural human indisposition to subject the physiology to unnecessary strains and distresses.