The Washing Machine
I’ve travelled extensively in Europe renting apartments on several trips. I’ve also spent 6 months in UK. Every flat or house has a front loading washing machine which I’ve never been able to master. In all my travels the front loader has been my biggest fear, not losing my luggage or having my money stolen or being kidnapped and sold on the black market (ex-husband probably wished for that)!! No, it’s the dreaded front loader washing machine with built-in dryer. So you can imagine my fear and how much my blood pressure rose when I saw the front loader neatly tucked into a corner of the bathroom.
“Oh, no, I had forgotten about these, I have trouble getting the settings right” I said to Ty, when he asked why I looked so worried. “We had one the same in Paris and that was ok” he replied as he placed an arm around my shoulder “I’m sure there’ll be instructions my sweet”. He was right; of course, there’d be instructions in the house “how to” folder, on the table. I flicked through the folder and found no instructions on the washing machine, not a lot of information on anything really, damn, this was not a good start. A couple of days later it was time to do some washing, I couldn’t ignore it any longer. I filled the washing machine with clothes, put the washing powder in its container and shut the door. Then I sat on the loo (machine was across from loo) and tried to read/understand the washing cycles. Should I choose A, B or D I had no idea. Should I choose 30 or 60 who knows? Where is the on/off button? Ahhh, found you……now I have to choose the cycle. Ok, D with 30 will do hopefully this is a short wash, press ON……hmm, it sounds like it’s doing something. We now head out for a couple of hours to explore local villages and have lunch whilst e machine does its thing!
Arriving home about 5 hours later I went to retrieve the washing, the machine has stopped so that’s a good thing. I look inside the little glass door, the clothes seem to be washed although they didn’t look dry. No matter as long as they’re washed they’ll dry outside in no time at all so I switch the machine off and open the door. Disaster, water pours out of the machine all over the bathroom floor….trying to stop the water at the same time as looking for something to place on the floor was impossible. I just wanted to sit in among the mess and cry. Ty came in, took one look at the floor, the soaking clothes being hurled into the bathtub, and one look at my face told him to retreat very quickly and leave me to my misery. Mess cleaned up, clothes rung out and hung out I settled back on the lounge to watch my game shows vowing not to do any more washing. I don’t have much of a competitive streak so I was quite happy to let the washing machine win the round.
Round two of washing machine versus Kerin commenced at the end of the week. I went through the same process of adding clothes, adding washing powder then I asked Ty to help me decide how to work this monster. We were both squashed into the small area between loo and washing machine trying to work out the cycle and time limit. I have to say that the alphabet and numbers on the dial were in light blue and a little faded as well, which didn’t help us. We decided on a wash and dry cycle and after setting it we headed off to Florence for the day quietly confident we’d come home to washed and dried clothes.
We arrived home from Florence around 8pm to find the washing machine still washing….it must have gone round and round on the wash cycle for the best part of 12 hours. We were incredulous; all that wasted electricity and water although I have the feeling it wasn’t changing water, more likely it was stuck on one cycle. We played around with the dial again to try to get the mechanical monster to complete the wash cycle. It took several more hours of twiddling that damned dial before the washing machine actually completed a full cycle. Thank goodness we weren’t reliant on a water tank….it would have been empty in no time.
Naturally, when the machine completed its 600th wash cycle for the day some items of clothing did not survive very well. A number of Ty’s previously good polo shirts looked like they’d been dragged behind a car for several kilometres at high-speed. They weren’t dirty, on the contrary, but the fibres were barely holding the garments together. All the clothes were showing signs of stress; some had faded patches in different place. I hoped that once the clothes had some sunlight on them they’d look a little better than they did now. Even though the machine completed its cycle the clothes were still wet….not dripping as in previous attempts at washing but they were wet.
Still, it could have been worse, some years ago, on another holiday, I had put a large amount of clothing in a commercial washer/dryer. I sat and watched the clothes go around for a while, read a couple of pages of a magazine then turned back to the machine, which was by now in the drying cycle. As I looked in the machine I could see two very small items of clothing and I said to myself “what are THOSE I don’t have any kids clothing in there” then “oh my god, oh no, I know what they are”. It was a set of thermals that my brother-in-law had lent my then husband for our trip to Arctic Circle. They were now the size of a 3-year-old child’s clothing. So embarrassing, I carried those tiny articles of shrunken clothing around with me for 2 more months trying to work out how I would explain this to my sister.
If only I could take my top loader on overseas holidays.
My worst fear is that the home builders will dispense with laundries as a separate room in the future and we’ll all be forced to buy front loaders to place under our kitchen benches or taking up a prominent place in the bathroom!!!!
I think the best solution would be for all holiday rentals to have complete and easy to follow instructions on how to use the front loaders. Actually, working instructions for all major appliances would be helpful. So if you have a holiday rental and you’ve read this blog….it might be worthwhile to amend the house instruction folder.. In this case more information is definitely better than less.
In my ideal world I wouldn’t have to do the washing whilst on holidays………….or at least have the ability to request the washing machine of your choice when choosng the rental apartment in much the same way as you choose the number of bedrooms!!.