Thursday, June 23, 2011

Doing laundry in France

I've figured out that I can't keep up with the blog as to exactly where I am. Exactly where I am is not doing laundry in France, but I got those photos uploaded and wanted to show you something.

The washer and dryer were in an outbuilding that once housed doves (at least upstairs, when the floor up there was whole) and has a dirt floor below. Animals lived there. A few small ones still do.

Above the entry was this:

Above the soap box was something that did this:

Just before I left the main house to do my load of wash, I was told "It's more like an English washer than an American." Yeah, okay, I thought. I'll figure it out.

I could figure out "pre-wash" and "extra rinse." I figured if they were in order, "arret" might mean wash, but that doesn't make sense because it's on all the stop signs in Quebec. It was locked with a picture of a key to pre-wash. So never mind.

I considered giving up, which I figured would involve departure and a trip back to the house to get help. But I took a chance on "depart" meaning "launch this ship" or something, and when I pushed it, water came into the window (front-load machine, also foreign to me personally). It said it would take two hours or some damned thing, so I went away.

Later I returned to more mysteries.

Is that the international symbol for cotton? Maybe. But I don't know the international symbol for wool, polyester or linen. So maybe it's the international symbol for a dryer. Don't know.

Do I want it as dry as a cupboard or as an iron? Or do they mean still damp enough to lay out in a drying cupboard so it's not wrinkly? I know what a drying cupboard is. That sounded good. Or would the photo of the iron mean it would be damp enough to iron it? Or so wrinkly it would need to be ironed later? Either way, I didn't want to choose the iron.

Then there was the problem of the symbol for pushing the button in or not.

OH. Seems cotton is on the right, and on the left is.... a little bird, or a squirt bottle. Not helpful. I just want to know whether the big picture of the button is the button out, or pressed in.

I press the button, set it for more than an hour, and go away. Later I come back and it's still damp. I have not learned anything, but my clothes are one more dryer-ride from being re-useable. I think lovely thoughts about the washer and dryer back home that I can use without reading anything.

When I got back to Julie's, I looked at her washer. The directions were in English, but not exactly the same. One option was "bone dry." I thought of the bone I had found outside that laundry room in Brittany. I think it was part of a sheep. I picked it up to see if I could figure anything out about it, and after looking at it a while, I turned it over and there were maggots happily living (temporarily) in the other side. GUH-ROSSSS. I never want to set a European dryer to THAT.

So as I write this, I am in a small town called Pulborough, in West Sussex, staying with Katie Pybus. Her daughter was disappointed that I wasn't a Barbie enthusiast. Because I have pages about the Barbie activities of others on my site, she figured I loved Barbies. I don't, but I was able to talk about Barbie's Princess and the Pauper, and sing part of a song (which I first heard in Las Vegas, Nevada; which Holly can sing; which I saw in full context in India with Zoya) and also to order her a copy of the DVD to be delivered here in a few days. So I can leave her a happy Barbie association with me, to help balance the look of shock when she found out I don't really like Barbie all that much my own self. Also I will make booklets of the Barbie adventure book she wrote and illustrated, and send those back to her at some point.

Today we're meeting other families at Arundel Castle. Tomorrow we're going to the beach and then I get a ride back to Julie's. Tomorrow I'm going to the Victoria and Albert Museum to hang out with Carolyn/Carrie/Adelicia (using all her aliases and nicknames for the benefit of those who know here from other times or from the SCA). Sunday I'm going with Julie and Adam to a steam museum with farm equipment and rides used for fairs, back in the days when steam engines were high tech. I'm looking forward to all that. Then I got to Bristol to stay with Alison Pawlak's family for a while.


  1. Hilarious about the washer/dryer! Had the same experience in Ukraine, though the dryer ended up being a clothes line run across the living room several times.

  2. The clothes lines I saw in and around Edinburgh were the kind you let down from the ceiling and then hoist back up. One was set above stairs, and the mom stood on the handrailings in the corner to get to the far end. It was all very exciting!


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