Thursday, 3 February 2005

Down At The Laundromat

There are flies here that love hot damp conditions, and they will lay eggs on your clothes while they are hanging on the washing line.

They don't like hot dry heat however, so as long as you iron your clothes afterwards the eggs get killed off and all is ok.

I do not worry about this much as Lovely Milly does the laundry and operates the scary hot coals iron.

However I do possess some items of clothing which are not made out of industrial cotton, and therefore should not be subjected to vigorous pounding in fibre-munching washing powder (Gets stains out in seconds! Even in cold water! Even in dirty water! Watch your clothes disappear before your very eyes!).

These clothes I wash myself. I do not iron them. Partly because I cannot operate the hot coals iron, and partly because certain man-made fibres tend to become little more than a selection of holes held together by string if even brought in the vicinity of an iron.

So far I have blithely ignored the egg-laying flies matter. A case of, if I don't think about it, it won't happen. Frankly, the thought of these eggs hatching, burrowing into your skin, turning into big swollen hard lumps, and then flies busting out of various parts of your body is far too horrific to contemplate. Fingers in ears la la la.

Anyway, I went to take in a black top off the line the other day, and there they were. A little cluster of round, shiny, white eggs. The Husband did point out that they could just be some random eggs, and not The Eggs, but would you take a chance? I balled the top up and hid it in a corner of the bedroom, to be dealt with later.

The next day was a total batastrophe. Coming home from the office I discovered that our bedroom had now become The Place Where Bats Come To Die. There was one under the table, squeaking pitifully in its death throes. I fetched the broom and hurled him out the door.

Then I began to get a bit paranoid. Critters hide everywhere about our house. So I started a bat-hunt. Sure enough, there was another one - stretched out on the lovely new silk cushion I bought in Cape Town. Right on top, like some King Bat on his throne. He got chucked outside as well.

Then I thought that really I ought to wash the cushion cover, you know in case of bat germs. So that got thrown in the corner with the egg-infested top.

It took me a few days to work up the courage to do this particular set of laundry, but finally I caved in. There was a nagging thought in the back of my mind that maybe the eggs would already have hatched and I'd inadvertently started a fly zoo.

I boiled up some water. Boiling water is generally considered a Good Thing in such emergencies. I added half a box of fibre-munching detergent, thinking it would also attack the germs/eggs. I scraped the eggs off my top and plunged it into the boiling vortex of soap. I figured ten minutes was long enough.

Next up was the cushion cover. I was scrubbing away, but something felt not quite right. I lifted the cover out of the water, blew off the suds and had a closer look. And there, stuck in the middle of the cloth, was a BAT LEG.

And as Scarlett Johansson would say, 'That is just not sanitary.'