Acclimating to the Climate in London

April 22, 2013
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I fantasize about having a clothing dryer like I’m a 1940s housewife.

Growing up in the United States, if you had a washing machine. you had a dryer. In present-day London, almost everyone has a washing machine while dryers are viewed as an unnecessary luxury. I’m being dramatic, but not having a dryer makes me feel like my life revolves around laundry.

It’s always either about to rain, raining, or has just rained in England. Recently I found a mushroom growing in my bathroom. I chose to believe this was due to the dampness of the country and not that it reflected on my cleaning abilities. Without a dryer wet clothes have to be hung in my flat, adding to the constant dampness.

I fight a daily battle to keep the flat dry and from growing mold. One of my opponents, the tiny washing machine that has grown a thick layer of stinky black mildew around the door, lures me in with this week’s dirty laundry.

climate in London
climate in London

The first step in the drying process is hanging wet clothes on the hodge-podge collection of flimsy clothing racks, which frequently collapse dropping clean wet clothes on the floor. The next step is to haul the clothing racks to the bedroom because the living room is small and five racks take up the whole room. Open the bedroom window to let off some of the clothing’s moisture. Flip clothes over periodically throughout the day so that the under sides have a chance to dry in an attempt to speed up the never-ending drying process.

Before bed haul all the laundry racks back into the living room, flip clothes again. Hem and haw about whether to leave the living room window open all night because it will be freezing in the morning. Alternatively, keep the window closed, which will turn the room into a sultry tropical sauna due to the humidity of the clothes. Thus increasing the probability of growing mold, or more mushrooms. Before the previous loads of laundry are completely dry, which usually takes five to seven days, it’s time to wash more clothes. The cycle begins again.

Most days I can’t stand being surrounded in my wet wardrobe in such a small living room, so I haul the almost dry clothes back into the bedroom. On the very rare occasion when I think it won’t rain for a whole day, I will haul all the racks of clothing to the shared outdoor hall space of the building, which like my flat is out of reach of all sunlight. Then for the rest of the day, regularly go and press my noise to the window to see if it has started raining. Other times this all feels like too much work and as the English say, “I can’t be bothered.”


Admittedly having a dryer is a luxury. However, living in England’s damp climate and always having wet clothes hanging in my flat, a dryer has never felt more necessary. So I fantasize about having a clothing dryer like a 1940s housewife.

About Alethea Alden

Alethea Alden is a Minnesota native who currently lives in London.

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