A hot wash on a hot day

Unusual London: enjoying a heatwave
Unusual London: enjoying a heatwave

London is enjoying an unusual heat wave. With blue skies and endless sunshine, we hardly recognize the capital as its citizens go about dressed in beachwear.

Finsbury Square, Friday
Finsbury Square, Friday

While hardy folk sit out in the sun and turn tomato-coloured, more sensible people keep to the shade. Finsbury Square yesterday was full of post-lunchtime dawdlers trying to forget it was time to go back to work.

We usually do our laundry on Sunday afternoon, toting our washing in a wheelie suitcase and a shopping trolley to Marchmont Street, near the British Library. This time, however, we thought a change of routine was indicated and so we set off early this morning, hoping to avoid the worst of the heat.

Breakfast at the Station Cafe
Breakfast at the Station Cafe

We stopped off for breakfast on the way at the Station Cafe at Kings Cross and by the time we emerged, the temperature was already rising. A couple of hours spent in a hot and humid launderette was not appealing but the job needs to be done.

Once the machines are spinning, we can leave the close atmosphere of the launderette and go across the road to Costa.

Across the road to Costa
Across the road to Costa

Is it correct that you should take hot drinks in summer on the supposition that  these are more cooling than cold drinks? It is counterintuitive advice and I have never found it true – in fact, I always feel a rush a warmth after a hot drink. Even so, I usually prefer to drink coffee, rather than something from the cold cabinet.

Marchmont Street
Marchmont Street

We like Marchmont Street. It has a relaxed villagy feel to it, despite the fact that there is a shopping centre hidden away towards one end. There are two nice pubs, a couple of cafes and Costa.

Other people must have had the same idea as the launderette was quite busy. Even so, we managed to complete the task without too much trouble. Job done, we set out for home.

(Photo by Tigger)

By the time we had trundled our respective burdens down to the Euston Road, we were both thinking the same thing: there’s a Starbuck’s just along here… It seemed reasonable to pause a while before dragging ourselves and our luggage onto the bus.

One thing has always mystified me about Starbuck’s: the size of the servings. When I was a boozer, I happily drank beer by the pint but coffee? Surely not. The smallest black coffee I can get in Starbuck’s is a “tall” black americano. Frankly, it’s too much. Horses might drink by the bucketful but I prefer a reasonably-sized cup.

I put it to the man who served me: “Nowadays you serve a ‘flat white’, so what about a ‘flat black’? You know: small.” He looked at me quizzically. “’Tall’ is too much,” I insisted, with the feeling that I was trying to communicate across a gulf.

He rooted around in the pile of cups and showed me two, the usual “tall” and a more normal mug-sized one. “This or this?” he enquired, raising each in turn. “The small one,” I said, thanking him more effusively than perhaps I ought to have done.

Looking at my change I saw he had charged me the same as for a “tall”. Oh well, win some, lose some, I suppose. But it was progress of a sort.

Copyright © 2010 SilverTiger, https://tigergrowl.wordpress.com, All rights reserved.


About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
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6 Responses to A hot wash on a hot day

  1. petrichoric says:

    How on earth do you manage without a washing machine? I’ll soon be moving, leaving the washing machine behind that came with my rented accommodation, and I am *dreading* having to go to a laundromat. It’s just so time-consuming. I’m going to buy a washing machine as soon as I can afford it.


    • SilverTiger says:

      We manage. What more can I say? Going to the launderette is a regular ritual and we are used to it.

      If you have your own machine, it breaks down sooner or later and if you are unlucky if floods that flat below yours.

  2. Petrichor says:

    Well, I guess if you make a fun ritual out of going to the laundromat, I can see how it would be OK, but, quite frankly, I’ve never lived anywhere where going to the laundromat was all that fun. Also, one time when I was nineteen, and living in the States for a year as an exchange student, some guy got his penis out right beside me in a laudromat. Before I noticed, a creepy feeling came over me, and I looked to my left, and the guy was sitting right beside me masturbating! In broad daylight! God knows how long he’d been at it.

    Luckily, I’m not easily shocked. I was just angry that some guy had used me as masturbation fodder. Also, he had a really creepy look on his face, so God knows what kind of thing he’d get up to in the future. Probably something way worse.

    Well, that was probably too much information for you, but you can imagine why I’m not especially fond of laundromats. Weirdos hang out in them, I think.

    • SilverTiger says:

      I can understand how such an experience would be disturbing and put you off launderettes or laundromats. I can also see that a woman doing her washing alone, possibly in the evening after work, could be at risk.

      Tigger and I always go together. In any case, I don’t fancy the chances of any man trying something on with Tigger. She’s stronger than I am! She used to do her washing alone before we were together and never had any problems as far as I know.

      The launderette we use is in a “nice” area. It is patronized mainly by students from the nearby hostel and is always quite busy. I doubt whether anyone would go there hoping to expose himself. I have seen people almost come to blows over machines when it was very busy but even that is rare.

      I don’t know how it is in the US: maybe using a launderette there confers low social status. That isn’t the case here and you see quite affluent-looking and well dressed people in the one we use. Of course, there are districts here where the picture is less ideal…

  3. petrichoric says:

    Laundromats here don’t necessarily suggest a low socio-economic status. This is a big student town, so laundromats in certain parts of town are filled with young people. However, I do think that there can be a certain “unsavoury” element because laundromats are often unmanned, as the machines are coin-operated, so it’s easy for “undesirables” to come in off the street, and just sit there all day, maybe waiting for a chance to steal your stuff while you get up to check how your washing is coming along.

    What’s weird about rental apartments here is that they will often have dishwashers installed. I don’t get it. I would much rather have a washing machine.

    • SilverTiger says:

      I agree there are these problems. We have been fortunate in having good launderettes, too busy for there to be the sort of problem that can sometimes arise in these places.

      One launderette is very near us in Chapel Market but it fell into a poor state, many of the machines being out of order all the time. It was supervised during the day, which was a point in its favour.

      The one we now go to is also supervised except in Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday. Even with it unsupervised, there has never been any trouble (apart from spats between customers on a couple of occasions).

      I can imagine conditions in some parts of town being very different and in that case we would obviously have to think again.

      In my former life, the household did possess a washing machine. It’s probably cheaper to use than a launderette but it still costs, what with repairs and eventual replacement.

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