Monday 20 April 2015

Wash Day

Before heading to the DOC camp at Lake Kaniere, I was hoping to do some laundry in Hokitika. We hadn’t stayed in a commercial campground for while which is where I usually do the washing. Hokitika is just a small town and we found the one and only laundromat just off the main street.

There was a motorhome parked outside and a noisy bunch of girls inside with a ton of gear scattered about, music blaring & all three machines in use. We met the couple from the motorhome at the door, they were just leaving telling us they weren’t going to wait, they couldn't stand the noise.

We walked up town for a coffee & then I returned to the laundromat to see if a machine was free. The girls were still there and all the machines were still running along with the dryers. I asked one of them how long they thought they might be, and whether they needed to hog all three machines!

I didn’t quite catch what she said but another girl piped up and said loudly in a broad Irish accent ‘We’ll be here for the afternoon, we’re washing all our gear. We’ve got bed bugs!”

I said ‘Oh that’s great, you know the machines are cold water wash and that won’t kill them?’

She said, ‘That’s OK, we’ll kill them in the drier, it’s really hot in there’

To which I responded ‘I’m not bloody worried about your gear, what about everyone else who uses the machines?’

Needless to say I decided not to use the laundromat (and I’ll be seriously thinking about not using any public laundromat again after that). I’d rather hand wash our clothes which is what I did once we were set up at Lake Kaniere.

But of course, first you need a good water supply- I don’t like using our precious tank water on doing the laundry if water is in short supply. The initial wash isn’t so bad, it’s the rinsing afterwards that uses too much.

With the water supply sorted, it’s out with the most useful gadget in a RVers arsenal; the obligatory Warehouse flexi-tub. Add the eco friendly laundry liquid and the best tool of all, the plunger and I’m ready to roll. I use hot water from the van- the first hot water wash our clothes have seen in quite some time. The plunger works a treat and actually doesn’t take too much effort to use either. The only problem is the occasional splash back you have to endure when the sucker turns inside out as you agitate the clothes.

Then it’s time for the rinsing, we drive down to the tap and while I fill and rinse the washing a few times David fills the portable water containers to top up the tanks.

Then it’s back to the van to hand-wring the washing (me thinks I need a mangle…but where to attach it?) and then hang it on the drying rack attached to the side of the van. And hope like hell the sun keeps shining. Which it doesn’t. The rain set in that night and it took four days for the clothes to dry. At least we didn’t need to top up the tanks from the tap again. It's all swings & roundabouts in this game.

And all the time I was busy doing the washing I had an audience of locals watching from sidelines- I think they thought I might be stirring up a big pudding for them in the tub.

I love this lifestyle but sometimes, just sometimes, I really miss my Fisher & Paykel.

A sneaky weka making sure he's not missing out.


  1. RV life in the raw...warts and all...we only just managed to avoid a photo of the toilet bowl mobile phone incidento.
    I like how everything seems to fall under your blogging eye......Shellie with your patter, have you ever considered a life as an improv add to your multi talents....David would laugh the most....... I reckon!

    1. You are too kind Jimu, I usually think up the smart comebacks after the fact- perhaps that's why they appear in my blog. David would just roll his eyes ;) He's the funny one in the family.

  2. Hi Shellie, I gave up on laundromats a loooong time ago, you just never know what goes in them! Initially I used a similar method to you But have since upgraded to this A word of advise though, drill/punch four or five large holes around the base of the rubber plunger which makes it much easier to use and stops that pesky splash back!

    1. Holes in the plunger. Of course, why didn't I think of that. Thanks!
      Yes, I remember ready your blog when you got the machine fitted. Unfortunately we just don't have the room to fit one, believe me I've measured every nook & cranny. The one place it probably would fit is where I'd hate to lose the cupboard space. David said I could fit it in the carry box on the back.....but I'd have to get rid of the golf clubs. Mind you, at the rate we're using them (about 3 times in 18 months) they might just have to be sent to the store shed.

  3. Hi Shellie & David .... I have been following your tour of the South Island and I would just like to say just how much I am enjoying your adventures . You are are VERY GOOD photographer ... Thank you for sharing !!... Kind regards & Safe travelling .... Keith

    1. Thanks so much Keith, much appreciated and I'm glad you are enjoying the blog. It's nice to know that there are people out there following along (other than family & friends of course). I enjoy photography and travelling is the perfect opportunity for me to indulge & increase my skills. Best regards, Shellie


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