Laundromat…Farmer’s market…

We purchased five yellow and orange peppers at a cost of $1.99. The red peppers, as
usual are priced higher at $.79 each, still an excellent price.

I hadn’t mentioned we don’t have laundry facilities in our tiny home. As a result, we have to bring our laundry to a large laundry room on the property, too far to walk.


It had been a long time since we’d had to haul our laundry to a laundromat, as far back as 2014 when we were in London for two weeks, staying in a hotel that didn’t have self-serve laundry and only typically expensive laundry service. 

Cauliflower heads priced at two for $1. What a great price!


At that time, without a rental car, we placed our dirty clothes into a wheeling suitcase and headed to a laundromat several blocks away, sitting and waiting for at least two hours while our clothes washed and dried.


Here at Robert’s Resort, we can leave our clothes in the washers and dryers while we return to our unit or take off on another outing. Today, we started the wash and drove a short distance to a nearby farmers market Tom’s sister Colleen had recommended.


Checking on MAPS, the farmers market in Apache Junction, Superstition Ranch Farmers Market is less than three miles. After a very successful trip to the farmers market, we were back in plenty of time to place the laundry in the dryer. Of course, we weren’t worried a bit that someone would abscond with our laundry.

We couldn’t believe the great price on asparagus at the Superstition Ranch Farmers Market.
We purchased two pounds.

The farmers market was one of the best we’ve seen over the years in regard to pricing. We spent a little over $17 for enough to last until the next time we grocery shop.


With Tom’s birthday upcoming in 10 days on December 23rd, I’ve begun planning the menu for his party considering what most appeals to him. I’ll bake a cake and of course, invite all the sisters and spouses. 


We haven’t celebrated Tom’s birthday with his family since doing so in Henderson, Nevada in 2012 when the same group stayed with us in a holiday home we’d rented. It will be fun to celebrate with all of them once again.

It was a wonderful market with plenty of organic fruit and vegetable.
Since I can eat berries in moderation, we purchase, blueberries, blackberries,
and raspberries at $1 for each container.

Today, we plan to continue to work on financial matters and updating our spreadsheet. Over the past seven years, I’ve continued to add our spending and expenses on an Excel workbook with many tabs. 


While in Nevada with an hour to spare, I created an all-new workbook, changing many features we found to be important over the years. Beginning on January 1, 2020, we’ll start using the new form. 


In the interim, I’ll have to add all the bookings and costs to the new form that will transpire into 2020. It will be a time-consuming task but it needs to be done.

There’s a display of Boar’s Head meats but we’ll purchase this fresh-sliced at the supermarket next time we make “unwiches” (sub-type sandwiches with romaine lettuce used in place of bread).

Most likely, tonight we’ll get together with the family. Tomorrow morning, we’re attending a get-together with neighbors for an omelet-in-a-bag breakfast. I’m concerned about what types of bags are used since Ziplock bags leach toxic chemicals when boiled in water or used to cook in a microwave. 


But, this may be one of those times, I just “bite-the-bullet” and go with the flow. We shall see. I certainly won’t say anything at the party and make the hosts or guests feel uncomfortable.

May your Friday be action-packed with delightful experiences!
__________________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, December 13, 2018:

Wounded was beginning to look a little better but we doubt he can see from his left eye.  He looked thin and weary but we continued to feed him all he’ll eat and we’re sure other residents were doing the same. For more photos, please click here.

Everyday life in London…Laundry…Dining…Local Farmer’s Market…Oh, oh…What’s happening in Iceland? We’re scheduled for Iceland on September 7th!

With the high cost of driving in London, most of the cars we see other than taxis are high end vehicles, such as this Lamborghini, Bentley, Ferrari, and Maserati.

We don’t dread doing laundry, not the waiting on the uncomfortable chairs, nor watching the sudsy wash go round and round in the front loading washers, nor the 90 minutes we spend doing nothing. 

There’s row after row of ornate white apartments in South Kensington.

We people watch, chat, and discuss when the wash will be done with Tom keeping tabs on me to keep me from opening the dryer until the cycle is done. I’m impatient, worrying that his few shirts will be wrinkled. All of my clothing is wash and wear. 

A church we spotted on the walk to the laundry.

Tom hauls the heavy wheeled duffel bag both ways preferring to carry it when the wheels are wobbly on uneven pavement.  In London, it’s a two-mile round trip. We ran into a guy we met at our hotel also doing his laundry. What a coincidence. We chatted with him while we waited. The time went quickly.

We had no trouble finding the distant Laundromat, Bobo’s Bubbles.

On the return walk, we stopped at every restaurant along the walk reading their outdoor menu, hoping to find a great restaurant suitable for both of us. Many were Moroccan, Middle Eastern, or Indian restaurants, none of which Tom will eat. Some were Asian with dishes made with batter-fried meats and flour laden sauces, unsuitable for me. We asked at a few of the Asian restaurants if they could stir fry or steam a few dishes for me without sauce. Their response was a firm “no.”

The two loads of washing and drying, not including soap, was US $28, 17 pounds. 

Tourists seem more interested in ethnic dining and London, a city which may have formerly been filled with pubs is less so now instead appealing to the desires of the general tourist population.

The boulevard outside the Laundromat.

Often Italian restaurants work well for both of us. I can always order a dinner salad with chicken, seafood, or grilled beef with lots of vegetables. Last night, we returned to Bella Italia to see if they had avocado on hand for the chicken avocado salad. They did. Tom had the pork ribs platter. The food was good, not great.

The Royal British Society of Sculptors.

Each day, we have the challenge of figuring out where to dine. The restaurants that work for me are all non-fast-food types which are more expensive at around than US $30, 18 pounds per entrée. 

On a walk on Saturday, we stumbled across a Farmer’s Market open from 9 am to 2 pm on weekends.  The smells were amazing.

Fortunately, we’ve been able to stay within the budget for the 77 days without being able to cook, 26 days of which we’ll be on two cruises with meals included. Dining out has never been a novelty to us.  In our old lives, we seldom dined in restaurants, as little as two or three times a year.

If we could’ve cooked our meals in London, we’d have purchased some of the items for sale at this Farmers Market.

Prior to undertaking this strict way of eating, I was always watching my weight making dining out less interesting. Now that its been three years since the onset of this strict regime, I’ve found it challenging at times to figure out how to get enough food to prevent me from losing weight. 

The produce looked too perfect to be organic. 

Basically, with this low carb, grain, starch, and sugar-free diet, I can eat as much as I need to feel satisfied, never gaining an ounce. Munching on raw nuts (when available) after dinner has helped maintain my weight with relative ease when seldom getting enough to eat in a restaurant.

It was around 1 pm when we arrived. We wondered if these chickens been sitting outside for the prior four hours.

It’s easy to see how dining out is not always easy for us especially with Tom’s picky taste buds thrown into the mix. However, we’re grateful that I’m healthy now, able to travel, that we consider the challenge a part of our travels that we attack with enthusiasm and determination. Neither of us ever complains to the other about the challenges taking all of it in stride.

It wasn’t crowded at the outdoor market.

In 53 days (or 42 days if we decide to cook during the 11 days on Oahu where we’ll have a kitchen) we’ll be able to cook again, do our laundry without hiking to a Laundromat, and spending each day discovering and sharing the wonders of living on four different islands in Hawaii: Oahu, Maui, Big Island, and Kauai. 

Vegetables and herbs.  Those tomatoes on the right were the same variety we’d often purchased in Italy.

As for WiFi, here we go again, one week away from the first of two upcoming cruises with their pricey, slow Internet.  A few days ago, we placed an order from XCOM Global and much to our surprise it arrived yesterday here at the hotel. We’ll be able to use the device when we’re close to land on the ship reducing our overall WiFi costs.

These baked goods looked good!

Each time we’ve booked a cruise we’ve budgeted for WiFi expenses including the cost of the device. At this point, we have five future cruises booked; two upcoming soon, one in 2015, and two in 2016.

Fruit, vegetables, and bottled drinks.

When we’re out to sea, we’ll use the ship’s wifi. Overall, with the combined cost of XCOM Global’s Mifi and the ship’s WiFi, we’ll be able to save between US $200 to $300, 121 pounds to 181 pounds, after the shipping costs.  

The larger bread was priced at US $8.12, 4.90 pounds.

We’ll post the total costs for the cruise, including the combined WiFi fees at the end of each cruise also including extra fees for events and alcoholic drinks for Tom (averaging at US $10, 6 pounds, each). I always drink complimentary sugar-free ice tea or our own ice tea. 

Beef from the farm.

We don’t gamble in the casino, book spa treatments, or buy “stuff” aboard the ship. The total bill at the end of each cruise consists only of tours, WiFi charges, and cocktails. In most cases, it’s approximately US $1000, 603 pounds.

Small roses for US $34, 20 pounds for three dozen, or is that for three???

After numerous calculations, we felt comfortable that ordering the MiFi was a worthwhile expenditure. A week from today, we’ll fire up the device, returning it back to the US on October 6th, the day after we arrive in Oahu, Hawaii.

It was good to see that the fish was on ice.

Once we board the ship next Sunday, we won’t be able to view any videos or large files. Tom won’t listen to his radio shows nor will we upload videos from Graboid. However, while on the ship every evening will be filled with socializing and watching live performance shows if we choose, leaving us no interest or time to watch our favorite shows.

The restaurant where we dined last night, Bella Italia, rated in the top 10% on TripAdvisor.

With the potential of a volcanic eruption in Iceland, at this point, we have no information if this will affect our scheduled 36 hours in Iceland on September 7th and 8th during which we’ve booked a nighttime tour to see the Northern Lights. 

Same shirt.

If the cruise continues on to Iceland and any eruptions have occurred between now and the scheduled arrival date, the tour may be canceled due to poor visibility. (This also could happen if it rained or if the sky was cloudy on the night of the tour). 

Tom’s platter of ribs, fries, corn, and three onion rings at US $29.75, 17.95 pounds.

If the ship doesn’t go on to Iceland, typically, the cruise line will choose an alternative port of call suitable for the itinerary. We may not know more until boarding the ship or several days later. 

My chicken and avocado salad, one of a few items on the menu that work for me, priced at US $18.15, 10.95 pounds. Many restaurants include a standard service fee although this restaurant does not. We paid a good tip for great service.

When we sailed in the eastern Mediterranean in June 2013, we were scheduled to dock in Athens, Greece for a day. With the then strife in Athens, the captain decided to avoid Athens entirely, instead of docking in the walled city of Dubrovnik, Croatia, an exquisite location we loved.

Advertising on the side of a truck. Very British. Shown in the reflection is Tom and the rolling duffel bag filled with our laundry.

Although we’ll be disappointed if we’re unable to see the Northern Lights, we may sometime in the future. With all the exciting plans ahead of us, we don’t worry or concern ourselves with these types of “blips on the radar.”As long as we and others are safe from harm, we’re content.

                                            Photo from one year ago today, August 25, 2013:

Finally, the Internet was back up.  This is a view from the veranda of the 300-year-old stone house in Boveglio, Tuscany, Italy where we lived for two and a half months last summer. At this point, we were a week from leaving for Kenya. For details from that date, please click here.

A day in the life…Laundry and language challenges…

I’d expected to see more hanging laundry this morning, hoping to take photos.  But, it was early morning.  This was the only hanging item I found on my walk. Perhaps others have similar slow working front-loading washers with the first batch of the day still agitating.

It’s rather odd not to have a clothes dryer. Neither of us has hung clothes on a clothesline since the 1950s. We haven’t had access to a clothes dryer since we left the US in January 2013. 

Our small clothes “dryer.”

Who knew in our comfy lives in the US that a dryer was a hot commodity? I guess we always took it for granted. Today’s dilemma? With this small portable clothes drying rack, where do we hang the big sheets? This morning I ran around looking out the windows to see if a normal clothesline existed on the grounds.

Are the vine wires a clothesline option in the garden? Nope, too high to reach.

The only possibility of a clothesline that I could see were the bare wires hung in an area of the garden for growing vines, none of which were covered yet. Could we use those? Tom, insisting that we investigate before we assume the wires were acceptable for our use, we headed down the hilly walk to the garden. 

Harder to reach “wires” in the yard, again unsuitable for hanging clothes.

Walking around the yard, closest to the house, there was no clothesline to be found. The cables were too high to reach, leaving us stuck with the tiny rack or any possible railings. Having intended to wash two more loads today, my plans are dashed. Certainly, whatever spot we discover, won’t leave room for hanging addition wet laundry.

Early morning venture to the garden.  Cloudy day.

As we wandered around the world so far, we’ve observed that most people hang their laundry over window ledges, veranda railings, and across any appendages that may offer a holding place with sun, a breeze, or both.

As we walked to the garden we noticed these live vines over a doorway to another “attached house.  Tom grumbled, “You’d never catch me walking through those vines each time I went outside!”  I thought they were cute.

As we strive to adapt, we find ourselves in a quandary at times as to acceptable solutions (does it fit the local etiquette?) as well as practical solutions (does it work for us?). 

I took this unfamiliar walkway wondering what was on the other end.

At times, the answer seemed obvious, but we also ask, “Is this acceptable to the owner of the property?” After all, we are “renters,” a state of being neither of us has experienced in over 40 years, constantly striving to be considerate and careful with other people’s property.

With the front-loading washer it took over two hours to wash one load. The manual to the washer, of course, is in Italian. Making every effort to translate it using Google Translate, there appeared to be no shorter setting that produced a strong spin. 

This entrance appeared well maintained.

Our first few loads came out sopping wet before we translated the manual and figured out a spinning cycle. Not wanting to start over, it took two days for the items to dry. 

A moment later, I was walking on another narrow passageway. It was like a maze. Of course, I was concerned, I didn’t get lost which appears possible. I have no sense of direction, never have.  Tom’s good for that!

When we made our plans over a year ago I had fully intended to learn Italian using an online course I downloaded.  Time slipped away and it often does and I know only the minimum. In two months, we’ll leave Italy.  In a short time, I’ll have forgotten my desire to learn Italian, facing yet another language to fuss over. 

The entrances to many homes are particularly appealing to the eye.

Never staying in one location for more than three months, inspires me to let go of the angst over not learning a country’s language. Instead, we focus on doing the best we can to communicate while enjoying our time enmeshed in the culture and its people.

This was the view over the railing, tile rooftops, green valleys, clouds rolling in over the hills.

Soaping up a few paper towels I headed to the veranda washing the railing which wasn’t as dirty as I’d expected. It will be a good place to hang the sheets. It’s not sunny but it is breezy, accomplishing two of our laundry hanging criteria.  Oh good grief, there’s a plan for everything!

Looking down as I take each careful step hopefully prevents clumsy me from falling on the uneven stone walkways.  On the way back up, I have the momentum of the climb to aid in sure-footedness.

Taking a break from writing this today, I ventured out on my walk, snapping a few photos, greeting a few neighbors with a hearty “buon giorno,” hoping not to sound like a fool, puffing and panting, all the while. 

What a morning!  What a view!

Today, I traveled further than in the past and found several narrow roads I’d yet to explore, with a renewed enthusiasm to venture further and further each time as my ability to climb these hills improves.

Some property owners cordon off their lawns and patios for privacy.
Dog, “cane” on my return walk.  No leash laws in Tuscany.

After all, the road of exploration never ceases to amaze me and…never seems to end. Now, off we go to hang the sheets! See the photos below.

Impeding our view for the day, if we decide to sit outside in the cool weather we’ve had since Monday.  But, well worth using this railing for the hanging.  Clouds hovering above may put a “damper” on our sheet drying. 
Its a guy thing.  I suggested using the rain gutter.  Tom ran to get the hangers to avoid getting the sheets dirty.  Then, he moved the table and chairs to ensure the sheets didn’t touch the tabletop.

Laundry around the world…

Peculiarly, caring for our clothing is somewhat of a hobby of mine. Perhaps, I was a laundress in another lifetime (not to say there is such a thing as another lifetime). Perhaps, I slept in a laundry basket as a baby.

It began when I was quite young, this fascination with laundry.  The middle of three sisters, I was assigned the task of washing, folding and ironing the family’s wardrobe when I was 10 years old. I didn’t mind at all. 

In grade school I attended a “girls only” home economics class (remember that, babyboomers?) where I learned to iron a man’s 100% cotton long sleeved dress shirt from the inside out in two minutes flat.  Failure to do a perfect job resulted in a brisk slap on the hands with a wooden ruler. (Can you imagine what would happen to that teacher in this day and age?)

Over many months, my hands were red and bruised every Thursday after the class.  I didn’t cry or complain to my parents. Determined to get it right, I practiced at home, night after night with a clunky old Sunbeam iron and a wobbly ironing board, often leaving rusty iron stains on my father’s old white dress shirt.

In time, I became the best “ironer” in the class. By the end of the school year I was presented with a pink and white certificate. Not only were my shirts the most neatly ironed in class, but I was able to accomplish the feat in 90 seconds flat.  I’d make a good housewife someday. This was 1958.  

Over the years, my ironing skills honed as irons improved and I could iron a dress shirt in 60 seconds, still doing so today.  

Folding is also quite enjoyable.  I love laundry. Putting away?  Not so much.

In this old house, the laundry is located in our creepy, cobwebbed basement, a full flight of stairs and long walk away. I don’t mind. The exercise is good, up and down, six times a day, to accomplish a mere two loads of wash.

Six flights a day, on average, over the past 26 years and I’ve run up or down, 56,940 flights of stairs!  I’d probably weight 100 more pounds had our laundry room been on the main floor.  I like laundry.

Of course, as time marches on toward the beginning of our year’s long world travels, I can’t help but think about laundry. 

Here are my concerns while living in vacation homes:

  1. Will the washers and dryers work efficiently in each of our rental homes?
  2. Will there be a nearby laundromat in the event one or both doesn’t work or in the case of the Stone House in Cajarc, France with no washer or dryer in the house at all?
  3. Will I be able to remove wrinkles with our new dual voltage steam iron?  
After considerable research, I have discovered that most cruise ships, on which we’ll spend almost one third of our time during the first five months, have no self service laundry facilities. This was both surprising and disappointing to me, far beyond my personal pleasure in doing our laundry, for the following reasons:
  1. Sending out a single tee shirt to be laundered by the ship’s staff may cost upwards of $4! Can you imagine the cost of an entire load of laundry? Including the tips payable for the staff person returning the items to the cabin and two loads of laundry may cost $100!
  2. Irons are not allowed on cruise ships and are confiscated upon entry, an obvious safety hazard (I get this). Thus, one must “send out a dress, shirt or suit coat” to be ironed, costing more than $15 each.  Ouch!  Hopefully, we can depend on that steamer.
  3. Piling up dirty underwear, socks, tee shirts and daily wear to repack in one’s suitcase is rather unappealing. Some of our cruises two weeks or longer. How many pairs of dirty underpants will we accumulate between the two of us and how much space will they take in our otherwise stuffed bags?  No, we won’t turn our underpants inside out and wear them again the next day!  No, thank you!  Dirty socks?  Yuck!!!
My little brain went to work on these realities. As for the vacation homes, we’ll just have to wing it, unaware of what we are up against until we arrive.  If the facilities are not manageable, we’ll plan a weekly outing, doubled up with other activities when we’re already renting a car and make the trip to the local laundromat a fun experience,  playing cards or reading aloud while we wait.  

I’d more than be willing to go to the laundromat without Tom, laundress that I am, but Tom insists that he’ll join me. In certain areas one won’t be safe alone at the laundromat. Daily laundry as I have known, most likely will be a thing of the past. Also, I surrender the fact that I will not be ironing unless an iron is provided.  

As for the cruises, my fingers went flying across the keyboard searching for a solution. In reading reviews at varying cruise websites, I noticed a common comment: many cruises purposely don’t have bathroom sinks with a closing drain.  Here is our solution to washing our own underwear, tee shirts, and small items, purchased from Amazon.com:
Laundry Pack w/ Sink Stopper  Price  $16

Travelon Laundry Soap Sheets, 50-Count

Travelon Laundry Soap Sheets, 50-Count

by Travelon


List Price: $7.19
Price: $4.42 ($0.28 / oz) & eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25. Details
You Save: $2.77 (39%)

I purchased four of the above laundry packets which fit into the palm of my hand weighing only a few ounces.  These will provide us with 200 sinks-full of wash.  With the above clothes line that suctions inside the shower walls plus soap for my delicate items, we’ll save $100’s while cruising, leaving instead with a small load to deal with at our next vacation home.

Traveling the world for several years with no home, no place to return to repack, restock and replenish, all of these items will save us money, frustration and most of all, precious time doing that which we love, for me; a lot of love and laughter, a touch of adventure, and a little bit of laundry; for Tom, a lot of love and laughter, a touch of adventure and a smile while watching me do laundry. Ah, life is good.

We’ll have bug bites, we’ll be hot and sweaty, the bed will be lumpy, our feet will be tired, we’ll leave a shoe behind, a flight will be cancelled and a vacation home won’t be as described online.  But, in any case, our clothes will be clean.