Just a note: I’m moving to twice weekly posts – Mondays and Thursdays – for a while. I have a project I’m working on and we’re in a rough patch with Henry for sleep. Will be on this schedule until one or both of these items are sorted.
People keep asking us if how we’re adjusting and there is a lot of talk about how difficult this move must be for us. We particularly get the difficult sentiment from locals we meet.
I don’t want to downplay it, and I’m sure there are still challenges ahead for us in adjusting to life in the UK, but it’s really been quite smooth. We’re settled in our home, know where the parks and grocery stores are, and are already making new friends.
The two biggest adjustments to life in the UK for us have been accents and appliances.
I’m using my smile and nod technique with the accents.
The appliances haven’t been so easy.
First, there is the smoking oven. Every time I turn the oven on in our new flat smoke billows out of it. Closer inspection shows thick grease all over the back side and top element. It appears someone cleaned it and skipped these areas.
The stove needs some elbow grease and should be fine. Our laundry issues, however, are here to stay.
Line drying is big over here. While seen as a fun exercise for quaint hippies in North America, hanging your washing outside to dry is how it’s done here. I’ve heard people turn their noses up at having an electric clothes dryer. After seeing utility costs here, I have to agree.
To keep to code with sanitary laws here, all flats have to have laundry washing capabilities. Small space and frugal landlords mean that most of them have what’s called a washer dryer: an all in one machine that will wash and dry your clothes. Sounds brilliant, right?
Every local or person that has lived here for a significant amount of time refers to these machines as rubbish. They will wash up to 6kg and supposedly dry up to 4kg in around 3 hours. Strange math for a machine manufacturer but as I understood it, I just needed to put small loads in.
Except, even with small loads our stuff came out wet. What was I doing wrong?
I asked for help in the comments here and got some answers. We also enlisted a local friend for help – she’d used one of these machines before. She gave me a run through and I tried again. Still wet. This friend also knew the old tenant of our place and found out the washer dryer had never worked for him either.
An email to our landlord was returned with: read the manual.
This whole minimalist wardrobe thing was starting to bite me in the ass. I was doing a lot of spot cleaning and down to my last pair of underwear.
Solution? We’ve gone native.
I’m now hanging all our stuff to dry.
Yes, it’s work.
Yes, our towels are crunchy.
Yes, I would take a North American dryer in a heartbeat.
But, really, it’s not that bad. I just have to be on my game with getting a load in most mornings and hanging it as soon as it’s done. So far it takes up to 36 hours to get everything dry.
What will we do in winter when the temperature drops and clothes take a really long time to dry? I’m not sure.
At least I can feel good about our new laundry system. Katy over at the NonConsumer Advocate wrote about the benefits to line drying. Better for your clothes, the environment and your utility bills. There are also some useful tips in the comments section if you have issues hanging outdoors (dust, pollen).
Okay, reveal yourselves: who line dries clothing? Anyone strictly line dry indoors, in a small home, and have tips for me?
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