The ma­rina laun­dry – where evil lurks


Boat peo­ple At its best, it’s a place for un­recog­nised kind­ness. At worst, it’s a place for air­ing one’s own se­cret dirty laun­dry.

There is evil at Mana Ma­rina and it lurks in the laun­dry. Last week some­one took our laun­dry out of the dryer while it was still wet, so they could put in their wash­ing.

I’m still gob­s­macked and I’m not sure why. There’s so much strug­gle in the world and I’m quib­bling about soggy clothes.

We share the laun­dry with all the other live-aboards. Sun­days are busy and get­ting the tim­ing right is an art.

You of­ten have to traipse down the pier to the laun­dry a few times.

We had another live-aboard cou­ple over for din­ner re­cently and they left three times to check on their wash­ing – nor­mal boat peo­ple stuff.

You meet peo­ple go­ing to and from the laun­dry and there’s al­ways some­one to talk weather and boaty stuff with along the way.

For some, just a nod is OK. It’s hard to catch the eye of one or two, but that’s OK be­cause some are here to be pri­vate.

Ev­ery­one has a life or two be­hind them.

It’s a nice, safe place: peo­ple leave their wash­ing pow­der in a cup­board there and it never gets nicked. There’s noth­ing of value in there – money wise – but it’s an im­por­tant part of liv­ing. We have no choice but to use it and be con­sid­er­ate of oth­ers.

Some­times a per­son may put your wet clothes into the dryer if they need the wash­ing ma­chine, or pick up rub­bish that’s been left be­hind.

At its best, it’s a place for un­recog­nised kind­ness. At worst, it’s a place for air­ing one’s own se­cret dirty laun­dry.

I like the laun­dry. It re­minds me of be­ing a kid on hol­i­day in a camp­ing ground. Be­cause peo­ple live here per­ma­nently, it has more sig­nif­i­cance.

I’ve only seen a wash­ing ma­chine on two boats. They were mil­lion dol­lar cata­ma­rans and the own­ers ate at posh re­sorts.

While I would like my own wash­ing ma­chine on our boat, I also love it when we’re away and I’m stomp­ing in a bucket of wa­ter with clothes in. It’s of­ten the only ex­er­cise avail­able!

Be­sides, we don’t have room for an ex­tra cook­book let alone a wash­ing ma­chine.

The laun­dry has a small li­brary – mostly ro­mance and crime nov­els. Books change and there’s al­ways the same num­ber on the shelves.

I’ve never seen any­one take a book though. Magazines tend not to last as long.

I love the idea that some­thing is be­ing shared without any ac­knowl­edge­ment.

And there’s a no­tice­board – our laun­dry lost and found – pinned odd socks, read­ing glasses, a key and a neck­lace.

I put up a ‘‘hello’’ sign there once. It lasted a day.

A ship braves high seas in a paint­ing on the wall.

Maybe the evil dryer per­son was in a hurry. Maybe they were late for a date or a job in­ter­view.

Per­haps they’ve come up with a new pos­i­tive the­ory about damp clothes. Or maybe they thought it was funny.

There’s a ‘‘free stuff’’ box in the laun­dry. The box con­tains mostly junk, but now and again you’ll find some­thing use­ful or cute.

I started the box when we moved here be­cause I was hor­ri­fied at the sort of stuff that was be­ing thrown into the com­mu­nal rub­bish bins.

I didn’t do it to save the planet – I did it be­cause the box re­minds me of what to give to the world in­stead of what to take.

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