Thursday, October 20, 2005

Laundry

In various emails of the past couple of years, I have commented to some of my friends on the interesting quirks of European washers. They all seem to be alarmingly high-tech, with countless controls and settings that are decorated with mystifying icons, and come equipped with extremely lengthy manuals that (even in English) fail to explain what exactly is involved. For example, on the machines at the dorm on Vratislavova, which also dried the clothes, there was a setting described as “store dry”. What on earth that was, I never figured out; dry as in the store where purchased? If you didn’t watch out, you might eliminate the spin cycle and have to start again from scratch. I really haven’t grasped why one would ever want to have dripping wet laundry. Then there is the issue of which soap to buy. Soap for white laundry? Soap for black laundry? Soap for colorful laundry?
Well, all of these modern machines take approximately two hours to wash a load, and it is pretty hard to get more than a set of bed linens into the small space provided (if, indeed, that much will fit at one time—if there are more than two pillows on the bed, it is unwise to use the extras as their pillow cases will not fit in the same load). This means one can spend a lot of time tending laundry, so the laundry I am spared by having left His Majesty King George the Incontinent Black Rabbit with my parents has not really lessened my laundry time. Also, as a rule I hang my laundry on lines off the kitchen balcony. I KNEW that sooner or later laundry would fall into the courtyard. For the first few weeks here, I had no key to the courtyard, so I am relieved to report that today, when I dropped my first shirt, I found that the additional key really does open the courtyard door. This means I also have access to the building’s stairs up the hill, which require exploration. (See photo)

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