Laundry day

We woke up to the most beautiful day here in Bermuda. It’s already twenty eight degrees (Celsius) at seven o’clock, and the humidity’s around eighty percent. The sky is so blue, with a slight cooling breeze blowing. Just enough to take the edge off the heat. That heat is hard to explain. It’s not so overbearing that I can’t cope with it, but it’s constant. With a three degree range between the low and and high, its possible it will get to thirty-one today, or equally possible that it’s as hot as it’s going to get already. The island is the tip of a volcano, and made of rock. Once that rock heats up the warmth comes off everything. It seems hotter in Hamilton, I guess that’s because the city has large buildings made of solid concrete or stone. Made to last through hurricanes. It’s also a basin around the Harbour, which acts as a heat sink, and always feels a little more humid than other parts of the Island. Every day in summer it gets a little warmer by a fraction of a degree, and can reach temperatures as high as thirty six in August. Then it starts to cool down again. According to statistics the average in summer is thirty, and the all year round average is twenty five. Nah it’s warmer than that right now!

Everything has slowed down here. The walking pace, once business like, is now sloth like. People amble up the road trying not to expend any energy. The first time I was walking in the heat, I was drenched in sweat when I got there, and really uncomfortable. I’ve realised now the snail pace guards against dehydration, perspiration, and irritation. My lovely husband takes off at a great pace because he is used to my fast walking. I now say ‘slow down, what’s the hurry?!’. We’re on Island time.

Featured Above: The vending machine that allows laundromat users to purchase a card, then prepay however much they want to load it with, so they can use the machines.

So what are we doing today? It’s laundry day, Oh, yay. Yes, you’re right, you did detect a little sarcasm in my tone. We don’t have a laundry in our little apartment, so we go to the local laundromat to wash our clothes each week. Luckily our fabulous landlord has put up a clothesline for us to use which is halving our laundry bill. But this is also halving the lifetime of our clothes. ‘Made to fade’ is a saying here, and it is certainly true. My clothes are becoming devoid of colour, my whites are yellowing with sweat and sunscreen, and anything that heats up like buttons, zips and elastic are perishing fast. I went to wear sandals that I haven’t used in a while, and had to wipe them with white vinegar and pop them out in the sun to remove the surface mould first. They are as good as new now. We are constantly rotating clothes in the wardrobes and draws, checking for Bermuda’s national flower. Using my excellent sense of smell, anything slightly musty goes out on the line to be aired, to save constantly washing items over and over. I like not being dependent on a clothes drier though. They contribute to global warming, and in my mind should be used as a last resort. Don’t leave the washing out too long though, or everything becomes sea air sticky. Like it’s not quite dry but won’t dry any further.

So off we went with biodegradable laundry liquid, clothes pre treated for stains, and most importantly the laundry card. At the laundry a card costs five dollars, then you can load Bermudian dollars only onto it. None of this is refundable. A wash is usually under five dollars for the small machines, and nearly ten dollars for the industrial ones. I think it’s seventy-five cents for five minutes in the drier, so it soon adds up if you are drying towels. It only takes about fifteen minutes to dry a load of light clothing from the small machines so that’s not too bad, and a wash takes around thirty minutes. Payment is no other way, and often there will be tourists trying to change American green backs for Bermudian Dollars to load their card with. You can use both of these currencies here, but not at the laundry. When boats are docked in the Harbour, we can get a kind of unspoken exasperated attitude about taking up the machines. But usually it’s a really friendly place to be. However, I can not stand it, if I’m a minute or two late back to the machine and someone has removed my clothes for me. Understandably, if I’m late, then I’m holding up a machine, but honestly they are not all reliable for timing. Strangers touching my bras and undies is just too much for this New Zealand chick who never had to manage public laundry’s before!

We quite like to go when church is on during Sunday morning, because it’s quiet then. It’s nice to go for a walk while waiting for the machine, to see if the parrot fish are in the Harbour, to have a quick squizz in the shop windows, buy a few groceries for lunch, then swing by the park to see how the avocado tree and peaches are doing. I set an alarm to make sure we’re back in time, which usually works well, but sometimes we get it wrong.

Featured Above: You can pretty much buy anything you need at the laundromat, which is great for tourists. A view of the vending machine, the smaller washers which take a decent sized load and about thirty minutes to do a cycle, and the gas powered driers which are huge and always churning away.

Recently we got back just in time to catch a man dragging my underwear out of the machine. The other one hadn’t finished yet, so it must have only just stopped spinning. I was indignant, and my lovely husband had to step in quickly before I gave this bloke what for. It was so difficult not to feel violated! I understand he was only helping, but my ‘don’t touch my private things’ gene reared their ugly head. We went off home with me huffing and sighing to hang out the washing as usual. When I brought it back in later, it dawned on me that I had lost two pairs of my favourite nickers. Well! The things I wasn’t going to do to that man if I saw him again! A couple of weeks later my Neighbour shifted a few pot plants near the clothesline, and what did you know – there were my nickers! Oh – it had been windy lately. I was relieved and embarrassed at my previous behaviour all at once. Luckily I haven’t seen that man again, and even though my lovely husband made me put down that shovel before digging that hole, I still feel I owe him an apology!

More soon – Sally

Handy link to Celcius to Fahrenheit conversion:



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