Washing Machine Brain

After a fortnight of living without a washing machine, and having to spend most days travelling back and forth to my mum and dad’s, dragging bin bags full of laundry around like a coal heaver’s daughter, I am utterly delighted to say that our new washing machine arrived on Saturday.

I think the parents are equally delighted about this, as are my friends Jane and Jenn who took up the slack on particularly terrible days when children seemed to haemorrhage clothes faster than a nose bleed all over a beige carpet. Why are there always more socks than days and feet? Why?

All hail to the John Lewis delivery men who not only delivered the machine of joy, but also fitted it, tested it and took the old washing machine away along with all the packaging material the new one came in.  They deserve to be heralded with trumpets and red carpet roll outs and ‘Hear Ye’s’ up the yin yang in my opinion.  Possibly knighthoods, but certainly a decent cup of tea and a selection of biscuits. Chocolate ones at that.

I was in London when it arrived but I am particularly grateful for their expertise as it meant that Jason could spend most of Saturday flat on his back under the sink, trying to fix the dish washer which had decided to jam solid while still filled with luke warm, greasy water, instead of up to his arm pits in washing machine hose.  He loves a relaxing weekend away from the stresses of the workplace.

I feel I need to whisper this when I say that all appliances now seem to work. I am still giving them the side eye, and tip toeing past the freezer, which defrosted itself rather spectacularly and for no apparent reason a few weeks ago, causing enormous anxiety and trawling of appliance superstores before it equally inexplicably decided to just refreeze itself.

The whole eco-system of the kitchen/utility room hangs in a fragile balance, much like a cobweb in a breeze. One fierce gust and the whole lot tilts into chaos and my entire life goes into free fall.

I hate appliances. Hate them. I hate the fact that they are a) practical, b) generally ugly and c) expensive. What I hate most about them is the fact that you delude yourself into thinking you might be able to do without them until one goes wrong and you realise how utterly shafted you are, how your current carefree existence hangs by a thread and how incapable you would be of coping come the real zombie apocalypse if your washing machine rebelled and tried to eat you, or your utility room was infested with the undead.

My whole life is marked out, not in coffee spoons, but in the whir and thrum of various electrical appliances spinning, compressing, boiling, steaming and chugging away. When things go quiet I automatically assume I’ve gone deaf. It cannot actually be that nothing needs to be washed, cooked, frozen, chilled, ground or whizzed in some way or other.

As far as clothes are concerned, over the last few weeks I have spent wistful moments driving up and down the M69 with the smell of fabric softener wafting into my nostrils, thinking about how much gyp you would get if you just sewed your children into a school uniform once a term and let them get on with it. Would it be worth it?

I think the idea has a lot of merit, were it not for the fact that Oscar has weekly swimming lessons from February through until mid October.

If it were possible to make school uniforms out of Lycra, the swimming issue would be resolved, as would the need for bendiness during sporting events.  You might even not have to bother to sew them into the stuff either, given the flexible nature of Lycra.  Adding some kind of Teflon, like some of the shops already say they do to boy’s school trousers, for added toughness, and for when they want to fry an egg on their knee in the lunch hour, would give more durability to the ensemble.

Imagine if this were taken up across the land. How much free time would I be able to claw back from the detestable heart beat of the spin cycle, as hoodie zips bash repeatedly against the door of the machine?

I might be able to finish A La Recherché Du Temps Perdu before I reach pensionable age.

Why do they have a small glass window in washing machine doors by the way? As I found when mine died a fortnight ago, it’s not comforting to see that your washing is trapped soggily in the bottom of the drum, failing to rotate, or drain, or spin, or wash.  It’s not like seeing it there kick starts your mind into figuring out what the hell to do with it.

I think it’s just there to torment you.

In these days of LCD read outs and computerised displays and washing machines with brains smarter than Casio scientific calculators, surely you could have a solid door instead of a port hole that you don’t need because you’re not even at sea.

The door could come in a pretty colour, in fact, the whole machine could come in a decent colour way, possibly patterned with something soothing, like a repeating picture of kittens in brandy glasses.  Instead of being able to see your washing, all forlorn like the cow with the crumpled horn, you could ignore it until your machine texts you with the piquant message: ‘Help! These are your Wolford tights that you paid £20 a pair for. We are trapped in your washing machine. Call for assistance immediately if you ever want to see us again. Then sit down and have a brandy. The zombie apocalypse has started and you’ll need your strength.’

7 responses to “Washing Machine Brain

  1. Yes, what is it with the porthole in washing machines?! I too love the miracle of the John Lewis washing machine men. They rescued me at a point where I was spending most of a month shuttling between Sheffield and London and my husband was entertaining himself in my absence by wearing every item in his wardrobe, or at least that’s how it looked from a washing basket POV! As he frankly couldn’t give a stuff what he wears, it was all very puzzling.

    • Ah, but when they* brought in the shiny washing machine with a silver door and no porthole I, like a fool, bought it thinking ‘pretty and also cool – for a washing machine’. It was useless, our clothes came out dirtier than when they went in and smelt of stagnant ditch water. We bought a different machine with a porthole and that washes fine – so the porthole obviously does something important and possibly mystical. Plus the cats enjoy watching the washing going round.
      * ‘They’ being an Italian electronics firm the name of which escapes me and I can’t be bothered to walk downstairs and look it up.

    • I am convinced I am receiving washing from a quantum universe on a daily basis.

  2. I can’t help but laugh and nod at your predicament, having suffered it more than once over the years and through several appliances. I am lucky that my machine is a toploader because what happens inside remains a mystery until the thing stops working. I hate to be so dependent on a bunch of appliances. I can say I have never had a dishwasher, which I used to curse soundly, but don’t mind so much anymore with the kids grown and fewer plates to wash.

    • You think a dishwasher will save you time etc, but now we just row about loading and unloading instead of who will wash and who will dry, and sometimes we have so much stuff we have to do both!

  3. Interesting that our family feels so strongly about washing machines that we are the only ones to comment 🙂

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