When is a washtub not a washtub – self evidently when it doesn’t wash.
This is the land of the decommissioned washer – cash box removed, unrepurposed, demure and decorative yet sadly redundant.
This is a dry only facility its surfaces inert, frozen in time, its sign declaiming pointless imperatives to nobody in particular.
Worn lino, prosaic mosaic, strip lighting, wood-grained Formica, black wooden benches backed up against the warmth of the warm drier – time becomes elastic, limitless.
Enter at your own peril, Persil in hand prepare to be disappointed.
When walking the streets of Welshpool, one often finds oneself outside.
Outside a launderette.
The porch was decorated by the most enchanting mosaic,
Vickery and Co.
Hosiers, Hatters and Outfitters.
Politely, ever so politely, I asked the two local lads if they would step aside from their porch perch one moment, I snapped.
And walked on.
Upon my return, nobody was here, I hurriedly occupied the vacant space, with the expansive volume of my incurable curiosity.
Here is what I found.
You could be in the middle of nowhere.
You are in the middle of nowhere.
Though never six feet from a rat, or a mile from a main road.
Moments away from a laundrette.
Imagine my amazement, on arrival in a town straddling the border of the counties of Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire in west Wales and lying on the River Teffi.
The heady of mix of interior austerity.
Functionally muted green, grey sky blue, nothing added.
An all too distinctive aroma of who knows what – warm water, soap and humanity?
Wash your dirty linen in public.
I was out walking on the corner one day.
I spied some old washing.
In the doorway it lay.
Well there was a doorway, but no door.
There was a door, but not attached to the doorway.
Well there was washing, I had inadvertently found the
Unattended, seemingly unloved, washing spinning happily, unobserved.
Guantanamo orange walls, stormy petrol blue sky linoleum floor.
Lit by several stark, bare fluorescent tubes.
I quickly went about my business, made my excuses to myself and left.
Standing alone in an unattended laundrette can be a chilling experience, a heightened state of awareness abounds, accentuating that all pervasive absence of presence.
The unseen hand, that write the notes, that speak to you in emphatic hurried caps, pinned or taped precisely on the walls.
The ghosts of clothes, still warm, now gone.
A Proust defying amalgam of aromas, that almost fills the air.
Just you and a series of slots, demotic instructions, care worn utilitarian surfaces and time.
Wash Inn get out.
There is a sign.
An Illuminated sign.
There are signs.
Handwritten signs – notices, instructions, scribbled hurriedly, underlined, highlighted, boxed for emphasis.
There are machines, top loaders, best left half empty.
Terrazzo floor, leatherette banquette.
Out of disorder comes out of order.
Close the door when you leave