Washing Day Blues
A schoolboy error which both Karen and I made when booking our accommodation for this holiday was the lack of washing machine. When we normally book a villa with the gang, in our list of requirements a washing machine is pretty high (after hot tub, Barbecue, Wi-Fi, satellite TV, concierge). Without having Nikki and Rachel around when we booked the accommodation my criteria was; cost, Wi-Fi, strength of Wi-Fi, is Wi-Fi free. I think I managed to divert Karen’s attention and neither of us spotted the lack of washing machines.
Now you may think why do they need a washing machine? You may have noticed at the top of my list of criteria, the first thing was cost. Bringing more clothes on holiday with you costs money. In fact about 80 quid a case. In the past I have commented about the fact that even though we have 23 kg of weight with EasyJet, our cases can never accommodate 23 kg. Unless of course we began carrying lead in them. Earlier this year we bit the bullet and bought a huge case. This was a case which could fill 23 kg worth of stuff. So the plan, such as it was, was to take one mahoosive case, with one week’s worth of clothes and miscellaneous stuff (chargers, iPads, camera batteries, travel funnel, etc.) and wash our clothes after one week. I mean for me a week’s clothes is basically seven shirts, seven pairs of underpants and three pairs of shorts. In Naples it literally has been one shirt per day. Before we even hit the Metro in the morning I am literally dripping with sweat. (Now there is an attractive image.). So the idea with the washing machine was that we just throw all the clothes in, stick them on the line, and within a few hours we have another week’s wardrobe ready to go.
However, if we haven’t got a washing machine, the plan is fundamentally flawed. I approached this issue with both of our hosts; The one in Naples commented that there were lots of launderettes around and we could wash our clothes no problems. The host in Sicily commented that they never thought to put in the washing machine as we had new sheets at the beginning of the week anyway. Looking at the two accommodations: one in the middle of a bustling city, the other in the middle of a field, we decided that we had a better chance of getting our clothes washed in Naples than in Sicily.
I bet at this point all you all-inclusive kids are really jealous of the things that we self catering people have to do. I bet you don’t spend half your holiday looking for recycle bins or self-service Laundrettes do you? I bet all you think about is what your next drink is going to be. But where’s the fun in that?. (Don’t answer that.)
We have been looking out for a self-service Laundrette since we got here. There were lots of dry cleaners around but not that many launderettes. I have to confess that I have not used a Laundrette since I was a student in Middlesbrough. I remember one day seeing a friend of ours walking around the streets in a smart suit. I said to her “have you got an interview today?” She replied “no I’m doing the laundry and this is the only thing I’ve got to wear”. I knew by today I would be down to my last shirt as I hadn’t bought a going to the Laundrette outfit.
We looked at various different options of launderettes which we could go to and concluded that all of them were a bit of a faff. I mea, who wants to take their undies on the Metro two stops just to get them cleaned. We also worked out that a wash was about 45 minutes plus drying time, so the whole escapade will take us a couple of hours. I really did not want to spend a couple of hours in a Neapolitan Laundrette. Karen suggested “why don’t we just do it by hand and hang it out in the garden?”. She had a point. So this morning Karen washed by hand and I rinsed all my shirts, all my underwear, all Karen’s underwear and a couple of dresses.
The apartment in which we are staying has a twin next door. This is owned by our host’s sister. We have never seen her; but we have heard her children and I have bumped into her husband since we have a been here. We have noticed that there are two clothes dryers outside of her apartment and we found a rotary peg hanging contraption in our bathroom which we assumed was for drying our washing. Once we had got a bowl of washing ready to dry we thought we may as well hang it out on the clotheshorse. I went next door to see if we could borrow the drier. I knocked on the door. There was no response but I heard the sound of the window opening in the building next to me. I knocked again. Still no response. Then I heard a voice from the window that opened.
An elderly gentleman was looking out of the window and talking to me. He said in broken English “Can I help you?”. I tried to answer in broken Italian “no, it’s fine” until I realised that I didn’t know the broken Italian for “no, it is fine”. The man said “I am the father”. I interpreted that as being that he was the father of the two daughters that owned the two apartments and not something greater. I then realised that I had no idea how to say ”can we borrow the clotheshorse please?” in Italian, so I did what any self-respecting idiot would do, I picked up the clotheshorse, carried it to the window, waved it up with my head, and said “me borrow?”.
He nodded and said “si, si” (“yes, yes”. It’s quite easy this Italian really). So we hung out our wet washing in direct sunlight knowing that it would be dry within a few hours. We then left and headed out for a day out in Naples, no longer having to worry about finding our nearest Laundrette. We returned to the apartment around 4 pm and we noticed that the lawn had been mown, but also our washing had been moved into the shade. We went and felt it and it was as wet as it was when we put it out in the morning. All we can assume is that the gardener came shortly after we had left and moved our washing out of the way of his Flymo. Very considerate on one level, a pain in the backside in another.
We could see the sun creeping away into the corner of the garden so we emptied the wardrobe of every hanger that we could find and began positioning of clothes in the setting sun in an attempt to get it dry before tomorrow. The plan was good, but didn’t really work. We currently have an awful lot of slightly moist washing which could really do with getting dried before we get onto the ferry to Sicily tomorrow.
So Plan B is that we set an alarm for first thing in the morning when we know the sun is back in the garden, we whisk our washing into the garden to get a couple of hours’ drying time before packing it and leaving here at 11 am. Real-time update: since I have been sat here writing this blog, the sister from next door has come and knocked on our door. She let us know that the irrigation system comes on in the garden at 7 pm and really we needed to move our washing, otherwise it would be even wetter than it was this morning. I have now moved it out of sprinkler range and it is sat here waiting to be sent out back into the sun first thing in the morning. Perhaps an all-inclusive holiday isn’t such a bad idea.