Since PC told me there was a free community washing and drying area, I'd asked him to book it for a date after I'd arrive, and show me how to do it; I could then do the laundry in my free time as long as I was visiting (my standard operating procedure whenever I sponge off someone for any length of time.)
I was very impressed by the system, and its checks and balances.
Every member of the community is given a lock bearing his/her flat name and number, with a set of 2 keys that will open that lock only.
The door to the community washroom is a master that can be opened by the house keys of each
Here is the laundry date-and-time "locking" grid, inside the community wash area:
The horizontal rows are the time slots, 6 am to 11 am, and 11am to 4pm, and the last two rows are the "parking" for the locks. the vertical columns are the days of the week.
There are two wash/dry rooms: T1 and T2. Depending on what one wants, and what is free, one can "lock" one of the slots on the grid. On that day, at that time slot, the wash/dry room that you have selected is yours for the entire 5 hours. (Five hours? Yes, there is a reason for this. Several loads are sometimes washed and dried, and so one has the exclusive use of the room for this extended period of time.)
There are two washing machines, and an electric dryer as well as a "blow" dryer...a "hot cupboard" in which clothes can be hung on a washline and have hot air blown through them. When we used the washing facilities, the electric drier did not work, and while I was waiting for the superintendent to send someone (it would only be after 9am and we had the slot from 6 am!), I hung some clothes on the aluminium poles and switched on the dryer cupboard,and it worked marvellously (and without the creases that tumbling in a hot air dryer produces.)
Washing may take a minimum of half an hour, and drying takes a minimum of two hours.During this process, one can put one's own "laundry" lock over the room lock, and go home; no one else can them open the room. One can use the iron board or the roller press, too.
When one is done with the whole process, one comes out, and takes one's lock home, along with the finished laundry, or uses it to "lock" another slot on the grid at a later, convenient time.
I do not know what happens if the 6 am to 11 am person is late getting out of the washing/drying room or coming to unlock it....does the next user come and wait impatiently? I hope there is a leeway for a few minutes! (Because of our problem with the dryer, our loads overshot the time, but I was there a few minutes before 11am, and requested the next user to allow me to use the dryer, which he did.)
I also do not know what happens if someone "locks" a certain slot but does not use it.
But all in all, it seems like a well-planned, organized way of ensuring both enough time for washing, drying, and ironing, and prevention of pilferage during the process!