Making do

We are in our final rental property, a cute little flat on the grounds of a former castle. We are actually in what would have been a gatehouse, just inside an entrance that leads into a courtyard around which are located several newly renovated flats. Very cute!

As we have found with almost every property we have rented, there are shortcomings. There may only be one or two properties out of the 19 we’ve rented that have provided everything we need, but we’ve learned to ask the owner or property manager when we need something. Typically they are very happy to accommodate as a good review of their rental property could ride on it. Occasionally we have been told that what we requested will not be provided by the owner, and that’s okay. You never know until you ask, right? In that situation, we have to make do.

At first we were a little put off by having to make do. How, for example, does one make coffee without a coffee maker? Most places have provided a French press coffee maker, which I use at home. Brilliant! Very easy to brew coffee as every flat has an electric kettle, a British must-have. A rental may not have a TV, but it will have an electric kettle. (A Brit told us that putting the kettle on goes a lot farther toward settling nerves than the actual tea does.) But this flat does not have a French press, nor did the owner seem excited about running out to purchase one. I’m beginning to think that the Brits just don’t understand why Americans can’t drink instant coffee, like they do. If they only knew how spoiled we’ve become with a fresh latte available on every American street corner.

And how does one dry their laundry when the clothes dryer removes only 90% of the moisture from clothes? (These combination washer/dryers we’ve encountered are really not very effective dryers.) You can’t fold them and put them away when they’re still damp. This flat, unlike most, has no clothes drying rack, or clothes horse as the Brits call them, to allow clothes to air dry. Actually, I’m surprised; a clothes horse seems to be second only to the electric kettle in their list of essential appliances. They really are wonderful things. I have several at home, and use them regularly. Mine, however, are not nearly as fancy as the ones here. I’m envious.


But then we came to enjoy the challenge of finding a work-around. This is what happens when engineers travel, as my friend Cynthia so aptly put it!

I won’t bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that I was able to simulate the French press process, more or less, with a saucepan and a sieve, and we’ve found that a boiler room makes a great place to dry clothes. We are happy campers.

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