Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Thailand Tales 7

A Visit to Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle
Mrs. Tiggy-winkle checking irons

It is hot here--you've heard me say that before, I think. And very humid.

So we change our clothes a lot.  Which makes lots of laundry, even if there are only four of us.

We have a little washer in our apartment that does its best, but we have to dry everything inside on stair rails and metal racks, which leaves everything stiff and wrinkled. But we also have an iron, so I was ironing outfits for each of us every day.

And then I found out about Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle.

Of course that's not her real name.  Her name is Mae Wan and her shop is just down the street a couple hundred feet.

But among our family we call her Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle because she is just as charming a laundress as the original, in the wonderful Beatrix Potter book where Lucie goes exploring and comes across a little hedgehog in a cap and apron and petticoats, with her skirts tucked up, and she's ironing in her low-ceilinged room, and she says, "Oh, yes, if you please'm; my name is Mrs. Tiggy-winkle; oh, yes if you please'm, I'm an excellent clear-starcher!"

Meeting Mrs. Tiggy-winkle

You can read it here for free.

So now I wash our underthings here, since it's bad manners to take them to a laundry lady, and the rest of our clothes, along with sheets and towels, I stack into baskets and then I recruit a certain reluctant teenager and we haul them down the street.

 But first we haul them down two flights of stairs.  (The black plastic bag has hangers that I'm returning.)

Then it's out the door and left and down the street.

At Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle's shop, we take off our sandals and leave them outside.

She smiles a welcome and I put my hands together and say "Swaa-di-kaaa" and she does the same.  She pours our things into her baskets.

 And in her notebook, on the page with a tab for me, she figures out how much I need to pay.  I paid 500 baht to start with, then when that got used up, I gave her more, and so on.

Her shop is full of fresh, ironed shirts and dresses.  She really is an excellent clearstarcher.


Then she says, "God bless you," in English, and we smile and bow a bit, and take our baskets, and put our sandals back on, and go back to our apartment.

Steven stops to admire the bird-bath lily-pond.


The next morning we head back to Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle's.  We take off our sandals and step inside and smile and say Swaa-di-Kaaa.

Our clothes are hanging there, clean and pressed like they've never been pressed in their lives.

The dresses and shirts are on hangers.  The athletic pants [also pressed!] and towels and jeans are in bags. 


Mae takes out the notebook and we settle our accounts.  For this astonishing service she charges only 10 baht, or 33 cents, per piece.

 We thank her profusely and she says, "God bless you."  We fill our arms with fresh-smelling laundry and slip on our sandals and leave.

In another 3 or 4 days we'll gather up our dirty and sweaty and bedraggled things and take another trip to Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle's .

  A red handkersniff

 Maybe someday we can even sit down and have tea.

 Time for tea


  1. I love this post! First of all, I adore all laundry details, and secondly, I love all your photos that show the little details. What fun to get such a unique glimpse into Thailand.

  2. Thank you, Margo. I found it such a wonderfully never-in-America experience and am happy that you caught that.

  3. Dorcas Byler6/14/2012 5:17 AM

    Mrs. Tiggie Winkles sounds like a delight! Wish she lived close to me. Cross-cultural experiences are such a gift to our children. I am so glad your children have been able to experience that gift.

  4. When we lived in the apartment above Mae Wahn's I never did laundry. Infact, I didn't even wash my own underwear all the time. (She's our adopted mother, so we got by with it, and she told me to bring it down even, now and then.) I think what impressed me most was my pressed pj's. There is something very comforting about pressed pj's, but I'm not about to press them myself!

  5. Serena Miller6/15/2012 1:16 AM

    I really enjoyed all the amazing pictures. I hope that the rest of you time in Thailand will be wonderful.

  6. I like how you said you had to recruit a teenager to do this and yet, at least for these two trips, it appears that you recruited 2 teenagers...
    thank-you for the vicarious trips to places I've never been!

  7. How do your teens feel about trotting around Thailand in starched and pressed athletic pants?? New experience, I'll bet. :)

    A very charming story, for sure.