The League of Gentlemen episode

Our wedding anniversary was fast approaching and we’d been thinking of doing something special. Something to remember – we thought that instead of trying to absolutely find somewhere on the actual date which we were certain wouldn’t be that special, you know... the place with that little something extra. And, since we were now very near the Lofoten islands, we thought we’d better wait until we’d get there and maybe try to find a “rorbuer”; a traditional Norwegian fisherman’s hut/cabin. Nowadays, the so-called “hut” is more like a cutsy little cottage on a harbour rather than scraggy shed! But, we weren’t there yet...

We stopped in Bodo for the night so that we’d be near the ferry (1pm to Moskenes). We thought of wild camping, but we had quite a bit of washing to do. Doing it before getting to the Lofoten’s  seemed the best option so that we’d have more time for ourselves. We stopped at the city’s campsite, the only one and conveniently based in Bodo only a few minutes drive away to the ferry port. It wasn’t an amazing looking site although it did seem to have a nice view onto the fjord (dark clouds and rain “accompanied” us  all the time we were there so our opinion may not be the most objective of all!).

We paid 180Kr with electricity and shower was free! A first! As soon as the manager handed us a copy of the form we’d filled in, he slipped and 150Kr, but corrected himself quickly. I took him up on it! But, he didn’t very much like my joke... Jamie and I did notice though that campsites in Norway or even Norwegians in general weren’t open to negotiations – bargaining seems to be a very rude faux pas or that’s what it looked like to us. 

I got on in the wrong foot with the manager the other two times I spoke to him! He just sounded like he didn’t want me to be one of his customers. Later on, I then attempted to do some washing, which one would think quite a simple task... It’d all started off rather well too - I’d got us two tokens; one for the washing and one for the dryer when I realised that the washing machine wasn’t on a metre after all! It felt like Christmas! It felt great, but, as mentioned, my enthusiasm was short lived...

One woman who seemed to be living in the campsite had put a towel and jumper in the wash – I automatically thought it wasn’t many garments, but I didn’t want to be presumptuous – they may have been so dirty that they needed to be washed separately... The only times I’ve done that, I’ve usually put the items on 60C to make sure they’d be washed thoroughly, these were only on 40C... It was taking quite some time too... I went back and forth a few times. When I finally caught it finished, the washing machine door wasn’t opening – it also seemed that the cycle hadn’t spinned - I could see through the glass door a lot of water left. I went back to the van and asked Jamie for some help. Moments later, he managed to open it. I went back in and put it on a spin cycle, got her washing out and laid it out to dry and finally put our first load in (we thought we’d do three including our bedding as it wasn’t on a metre!). 

What hadn’t I done! As I went back minutes before our first load was finished, I bumped into the woman for the first time and she didn’t look happy... She first accused me of stealing her softener. Whatever I tried to explain to her, she wouldn’t have it. She spoke broken English with a strong foreign accent, what sounded like Russian. I quickly gathered she didn’t even seem to know how to work a washing machine. When I told her that I had to put her load on a spin to get rid of the stagnant water, her only answer was that it hadn’t been washed and so it needed to be put on a 40C cycle again!

Looking back, it seemed to be an episode of Benny Hill – walking back and forth from the van to the washing room, it just missed the theme tune and the “fast forward” button. Putting another load on was out of the question for a while even though I’d also explained that we were leaving “tomorrow for the 1pm ferry to Moskenes”. From then on, it just looked like she kept on pressing “40C” and putting loads on with just two garments... Jamie and I regularly came in the room without much luck... Until, finally, around 11pm, we were able to put our second load in. I’d luckily put our bedding first so we’d have plenty of time to dry it. I stupidly said to Jamie to not do the third load as it’d be getting too late; Jamie didn’t go to bed until 2am anyway as our second load took some time to complete and then to dry.

I woke up around 7.30am which I thought was early enough to wash and dry our third load on time for the ferry whilst baking some brownies for my bisounours and making full use of the campsite’s facilities (it had a big kitchen with two ovens!) before heading out. Yes, it wasn’t a fantastic site with friendly people, but facilities were pretty good. Well 10 to 8 wasn’t early enough by the way – the same woman had beat me to it and had again put two items on a full wash cycle! The running around started again – Benny Hill part 2! By the time I’d made the brownies and had a shower, her load was still going on and seemed to need to be put on a spin again as water seemed to be stagnating inside. I finally managed to put our last load at 11.10am – it was pushing it a bit for our 1pm ferry, but, as it was free, it seemed too good to be missed. It also meant we wouldn’t have to do it during our anniversary celebration. Picking up our washing, I met another weird woman. 

Leaving the campsite under the rain with our wet load, I kept thinking how weird the people we’d encountered had been – it had seemed that if The League of Gentlemen had been set in a campsite, it would have been this one! It felt good to leave as I got this strange feeling that one would become brain washed and stuck in this freaky campsite. The strange people we encountered also reminded me of the strange and grotesque characters from Jean Pierre Jeunet’s movies such as Delicatessen.  I felt relieved once the ferry pulled out of the harbour – we were definitely going on some different adventures, we were FREE!

Leaving Bodo's waters!


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