Saturday, 31 July 2010

May 2010 Paddington Basin

Paddington Basin is windy like Chicago, because of the tall office blocks. I envy the boat wife next door. I can see she has a washing machine on the front deck, and I can hear a proper hoover indoors. I used to have a hoover, a little 12 volt car hoover, fits into a lighter socket. It took ages to clean the boat and was fiddly to empty. Didn’t pick up hair, so still needed to sweep after. I had it for years, eventually it died. Now we are deciding what to get. Something with more power is bigger to store, where will we keep it? Can our invertor handle it? But is there any point to the time consuming tiny one which is intended only to clean an average sized car? So, while we decide, I sweep our floor on hands and knees with a dustpan and brush. It takes ages but it is possibly quicker than the little 12 volt hoover.

Anyway, I don’t envy her hoover as much as I envy her washing machine. It’s a little blue and white plastic twin tub, swashing away happily in the sunshine of the front deck. Taking two children, a double pushchair and a rucksack to the launderette seems like such a mission, once or twice a week.

When we were moored at The General Elliott pub in Uxbridge it was a forty minute walk to Cowley launderette. It’s a beautiful walk down the grassy towpath: Big Sister requesting that I pick her a dandelion ‘wish’ to blow the seeds off. (Dandelion Clock). There are notices advertising ‘Service Wash’, but I’ve never seen any staff in this particular launderette, so I’d organise a family trip out. Take a ‘picnic’ to the launderette, have lunch there while doing laundry, then try to entertain and contain Big Sister, while breast feeding her baby sister.

I used to imagine the life of a boater as dreamily romantic, but there’s nothing romantic about the image of me, breastfeeding in the launderette. (I later learned that the charming Toll House tea rooms by Cowley lock do service washes for boaters – and you can treat your toddler to sausage and chips when dropping off the laundry!)

Anyway, when I saw the neighbours washing machine I thought this could change our lives! I want to keep up with The Jones’s next door! The Doctor asked her about it and actually they are moving off the boat next week, so they could sell it to us. Mrs Jones is six months pregnant; they’ve decided not to have a baby aboard and are moving ashore. She is intrigued that we have two on board and The Doctor admits that we are at maximum capacity.

So that is how I got my very first washing machine.
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