This post doesn’t need a legal disclaimer – go me 🙂
Late last night (well technically early this morning) I had to venture down to the communal laundry for the building that contains the cupboard. It is, as all laundries seem to be, deep underground. With my dirty laundry bagged up and pound coins in my pocket, I set out.
The first problem was you needed a key for the laundry stairs. I did not have one. Luckily the landlord was up and gave me a key, after I first had to argue that I had not lost my previous one, he had just never given me one. He was not happy with this and it took a lot of arguing from me, but in the end he relented. I am sure this is a normal trick for him, and I wonder how many people pay the ‘lost key fee’ even though they never did? Sadly, not my style!
With that delightful encounter over, it was time to head down the stairs. The lighting was bad, bulbs flickering on and off in a random pattern. The stairs were steep, but luckily there was a sign telling me that was the case at the bottom of the stairs! Oh, and of course that delightful black and yellow tape which I have got so used to at the studio!
The laundry it self is, surprise surprise, small and cramped. Within its tiny confines sits a washing machine, a tumble dryer, a sink and, for some reason, a shower.
It was the shower that unnerved me most. With its tile construction, thick shower curtain and worrying red stains running down the walls, I couldn’t help think this was where they washed the blood off. Off of what I don’t know, but I suddenly felt very vulnerable in this tiny room.
The washing machine was old, plastic yellow and cracked. It had buttons that one can only assume dictate the different wash cycles, but the text was long since gone. Luckily a sticker had been put above one button with the helpful words ‘This One’ written on it. It looks like, unless I wanted to play roulette with the washing machine, I only had one choice.
Loading the laundry was fairly straightforward. Putting the washing liquid in the drawer, not so much. If I was a betting man I would say no one has opened that drawer in over ten years. What the gunk was I never want to find out, but after battling to force the drawer open I was suddenly happy for the sink.
With laundry and washing liquid loaded, it was time to wait. With no idea how long the cycle would take, and no room to sit down while it did so, I did my best to keep myself entertained while the washing washed. It felt like it took forever, but I am sure that is not true. With the washing done it was time to move on to, the dryer.
As soon as I touched that thing it attacked. I would say it was static, but both my footwear and the flooring should have made that an impossibility. More likely is that the darn thing was not earthed properly, and so started the dance of not touching metal. I failed often.
The door was worse. Every time you opened the door, it closed, but only when you had an armful of wet clothing. It was uncanny. I tried to approach the door in many different ways, convincing myself it was my movements that caused the door to slam shut. After some time I was sure the landlord was watching, button in hand to slam the door shut. The only way around it was to shove a sock in the door. Although the door still closed, it did not latch, so I could force it open with my foot, throw my laundry in and repeat until all my wet clothes were in the machine.
The tumble only had one dial, and it was to set a time. You could have one hour or two. No more, no less. I opted for two. With clothes tumbling and alarm set on my phone, I headed upstairs for a drink and a scotch egg.
When my phone buzzed I made the trip downstairs. The dryer was stopped, but the job was not done. My clothes had gone from damp to slightly less damp. I put it one for another hour, again leaving for drinks and scotch eggs.
Back again and I was sure nothing had happened. And I now knew it never would. Putting my damp clothes in my bag, I trudged back upstairs. It was now time to work out how to dry my clothes in my room.
A half hour with some string and duct tape later, I had myself a washing line. Using duct tape as pegs, I started to hang my clothes. Of course, it meant they were hanging over me, and I got more than a few drops of water on my head over the few minutes I had left to sleep.
Will my clothes be dry when I get back? This my friends is what you call a cliffhanger. To find out you will need to come back, same bat time, same bat channel (both time and channel likely to change).