Laundry in the Limousin

I realize this sounds like quite a mundane topic, but it has actually taken up quite a bit of my time and mental/physical energy, so I thought it worth mentioning.

First of all, I am not a duvet person.  I'm a fitted sheet-flat sheet-blanket (electric in winter)-comforter-pillows/pillow cases + pillows/shams person. My marriage bed for two was made that way; my marriage bed for one was made that way; the B&B beds were made that way (my then-7 year-old granddaughter, Summer, was my go-to person for putting on pillow cases).  Here, though, the bed is made with a flat sheet as the bottom sheet, a duvet, and pillows with cases that match the duvet cover.  It's the duvet that flummoxed me.

Now mind you, I know people in the States and actually around the world use duvets.  I've even slept with them (the duvet, not the person who owned it..I don't think...), though am not crazy about my feet coming out from under it. But I've never made a bed with one -- as in having to launder and change the cover.  Of course, that didn't occur to me until I stripped the bed (See Photo #1) and then confronted the freshly laundered (and ironed!) second set of bed linens my landlady, Linda, kindly provides.

Okay, how difficult could it be to stuff the fresh duvet cover?  How many different ways could there be? It's just a big pillow case, right?  Thoughts of how I'd cheated on my college physics exam (but that's another story) kept cropping up, even as I tamped down evil voices in my head whispering, "You-tube, You-tube".
The cover was inside out, so perhaps that was the secret:  you place the duvet itself (that large, flattened pillow-like thing) on top of the inside of the cover and then -- what?  roll it?  Twist it?  Pull the cover over so it starts inside out but ends right side out?  That didn't make a lot of I decided to go the pillow-cover route (remembering that I have sewn umpteen pillow covers in my long life).  I turned the cover right side out, grabbed one corner of the duvet, and shoved it up into the corresponding corner of the cover; then I did the same on the opposite side. Then I pulled it down, and kept tugging and re-arranging and...voila!  (See Photo #2).  Looks pretty good, if I do say so myself.  Well, there is a lump in one of the corners, but I'm not telling where...!

Okay, now the laundry itself.  Remember, we're out in the country.  There is a washing  machine (See Photo #3) and clotheslines for the spring and summer laundry (which comes off the line smelling good, but hard as planks); during the cooler and wetter fall and winter months, though, it's a portable rack in the living area, where the wood stove creates the drying heat (See Photo #4).  None of that has been a problem; the machine itself,though, has been.  Linda explained it all very well to me.  I selected the setting she recommended and started the wash late at night (to save on cost of electricity, which goes down overnight).  Machine ran ALL night.  In the morning, I manually advanced the dial so it would rinse, spin and stop.  Recommendation was to try a different number setting, with a shorter time span (settings are based on kind of fabric and temperature).  I did.  Eight hours later, it was STILL running.  Read the appliance ("appareil", though that's also the word for a camera) manual (in French, so probably understood only about 2/3 of it).  Didn't seem to have done anything wrong.

Linda came today, and methodically reviewed the process.  We decided since it hadn't worked on setting 5 or 9, we'd try 8.  Worked like a charm!  The machine just stopped (on schedule), so I guess I should, too.  But I'm beginning to suspect that it was my management of the start/stop button that may have been the problem all along...  But now how do I get the newly laundered sheet and duvet cover to fit and dry on the rack?!

A la prochaine --


  1. When our German girl were here, they could not understand all the layers on our beds and would lay on top of the blanket and sheets, but under the comforter. When we went to Germany it was kind of weird to not have top sheets and blankets.

  2. This reminds me of the similar cumbersome struggles I️ encounter whenever I️ am wrestling with a fitted sheet. Imagining you trying to figure this out made me imagine a Lucy episode! Bon chance Mon ami!


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