Once inside, I was gobsmacked to discover the price of a wash. The last time I paid to do laundry was 1990, when it was a couple of Pounds to do a wash AND dry. Guess how much it is now? £5 for a small machine. £6.60 for a large. Talk about expensive! At that rate, a family doing two washes a week could pay for their own machine in four to five months.
Both large and small machines only took £1 coins or 20p pieces. I'd planned to do a light wash and a dark, but ended up shoving everything into the one large machine - I didn't have the change for two. (DH - aka "Keeper of the Laundry" - will go spare when I tell him. Mixed washes are one thing he doesn't tolerate.). Reviewing my resources, I had 6 x £1 coins, 4 x 50p and 3 x 20p. (I'd already had to pay 60p to park. Thank heaven I hadn't used all the 20 pences.)
Settled down to read my latest book, leaning against a dryer. The wash was surprisingly fast, just over half an hour including prewash.
It was only when I emptied the washing machine that I remembered how laundromats make their big money: from the dryers. The dryer is 50p for 5 minutes and only takes 50p pieces. However, even after it had been through the industrial spin, my wash was very wet - not sopping but more like twice as wet as it would have been at the end of a cycle in a domestic washer. I split the load into 2 and put 2x50p into each machine. I'd thought I'd had more but it wasn't the case. I sat there praying the big industrial dryers dried really fast because I was out of 50p's and there was nowhere to get more (I tried buying something at both local shops but they were out of 50p's).
10 minutes later, they both ground to a holt. Gingerly I opened the closest door. Inside was a pile of hot, streaming laundry. The other dryer, with the sheets, faired better. The sheets were almost dry.
With no other option, I bundled the wet washing back into the trug, put the almost dry stuff in a bag, and headed home. Every radiator now has it's garland of washing carefully positioned thereon and the house smells like an old-fashioned laundry.
Unless our washer is workable, I'm not doing any more laundry until I get to Melbourne next weekend. I'd rather turn up at my sister's house with a suitcase full of dirty clothes than pay those exorbitant prices again.
- Pam (did I mention we're spending Christmas in Oz?)