Archive for February, 2010

Shrinkage

February 24, 2010

This is a sweater I got from my friend Emily. I liked it. It used to fit me. Then I put it in a British washing machine.

Here’s the trouble with British washers: They’re tiny. They take two hours a load.* They don’t dry squat. And they shrink your sweaters to XXXXXXS.

Which means if you have a lot of laundry to do (for instance, if all your clothes smell like the hold of a container ship, because that’s where they’ve been for the past 6 weeks) you could easily be washing every day for a month.

Whatever. When I get sick of seeing racks of drying underwear in the middle of my living room, I remind myself that Planet Earth is eternally grateful I’m not using those evil American dryers, and this makes me feel better until I have to get out of the shower and slough myself dry with a towel whose texture resembles a roof shingle.

I asked for advice from Jane and Nadine, and they cheerfully suggested that the solution was fabric softener. So I tried that. And it made a difference. Now the roof shingle smells like an artificial mountain meadow.

* (Yes, you can choose a more reasonable 30-minute setting. But the point is, they offer a two-hour option. What could possibly be happening in there for two hours? Do they think you bathe in mud? Or you’re battling a battalion of lice? I don’t get it.)**

** Footnotes do not count as part of the 200 words.

Commute

February 17, 2010

My morning commute starts with a ten minute stroll along the canal.

It is a lovely neighborhood whose inhabitants include an enormous swan, a pair of Canadian geese, and a toddler named Rosa.

Rosa lives in a tidy blue houseboat with a chimney pipe that emits real wood smoke and the faint smell of breakfast. I know her name because yesterday her father was putting her into the stroller, imploring, “Rosa, let me zip it. Rosa, yes, you do need the rain cover. Rosa, please.” It was pouring. But Rosa, who must be quite used to the damp, did not want her stroller swaddled in plastic. No, no, no.

However, Rosa is not the loudest or most complaining thing in the canal. Because the canal is also home to a family of coots.

I always thought a coot would look something like a geezer – old, frowsy, and brown. But they are elegant creatures – all black with a jaunty white head. Their cootishness only reveals itself when they speak, which they do incessantly. They’re like a beautiful woman with a terrible Long Island accent.

Take a listen:

http://www.xeno-canto.org/europe/species.php?query=gen:Fulica+species:atra

RSVP

February 1, 2010

Supposedly this is my apartment.

I say supposedly because I don’t  have the keys yet — I’ve been in Los Angeles for the past three weeks, living at a cushy hotel. In fact, I’ve been in LA so long, it seems like the whole London thing was just a figment of somebody’s imagination. But I am paying distinctly unimaginary rent, so that, at least, is proof that I do sort of live in London. Sometimes. And I should be able to jingle the keys very soon.

About the apartment: It’s a loft, and I’ve never wanted to live in a loft. It comes with a leather sofa, and I’ve never liked leather sofas. It’s on a canal, and I never knew London had a canal. Still, I’m positive I was intended to live here.

Oh, and you’re invited to come visit.