Widow Twankey Strikes Again
“A washing machine, a washing machine”. I still remember my Dad singing that song, dressed as Widow Twankey in a community production of Aladdin when I was a child. For some reason, my Dad always played the pantomime Dame. Anyway, that’s beside the point really.
We’ve just replaced our washer. We didn’t want to replace our washer, we wanted to repair it. We wanted to save yet another machine from being trashed when it was, essentially, in working order. However, the bearings had gone. We naively thought it would be a simple matter to get a local tradesman, someone who runs one of those small, independent white goods shops, to come and take a look, order the part, fit it. But no. Well, part of it was simple.
We tracked down one of those shops, after a false start or two, and the man came out. He charged me forty quid for coming out, span the drum of the washer with his hand and told me the bearings had gone. Well done Einstein. We told you that when we called you out to fix it. He then sucked in his breath (I didn’t know they really did that) and told me it would be pricey to fix. I briefly wondered what pricey meant in this context. He made some calls and then told me that the part had to come from the manufacturer (at which point alarm bells rang – my last car was traded in for the reason that the parts needed to get it through the MOT were only available from the manufacturer – thus making them ridiculously expensive). He told me the price. I thanked him for his time and bid him good day, having paid him forty quid to come to my house and tell me what I already knew. Great.
So, it was cheaper to buy a new machine, and not just a bog standard, cheap as chips machine. So we did. We didn’t go for one that requires a mortgage to pay for it, but we didn’t go bottom of the range either, and we still saved money over repairing the old one. It makes me cringe that in these times when we all need to think about the amount of waste we generate, it’s cheaper to buy new than repair. Crazy.
Anyway. We arranged for the washer to be delivered and the old one removed. This service doesn’t include unplugging the old one, or disconnecting it from the water, so this job fell to me, the husband conveniently being abroad when it was delivered. I’ve done this before, it’s easy. You just flick the switchy thing across the pipe to stop the water feed to the washer and unscrew the hose. Remove the waste pipe, unplug the plug. Have towels handy for inevitable bit of water that escapes from the hose. Easy.
Well, it was easy the last time I did it. But the last time I did, all the equipment involved knew what was expected of it and prided itself on doing a good job. This time, having pulled the machine out of its slot (no mean feat, let me tell you!), I flicked the switchy thing, and grappled with the unscrewing bit for a while (it was screwed in really tight). Eventually though, it gave in and unscrewed. And oh, how I wish it hadn’t!
You see, this was the point where I found out the switchy thing had given up doing its job, without telling anyone. Flicking it should have stopped the water supply to the hose, but it didn’t. Not even a little bit. It made no difference whatsoever. So I, having unscrewed the hose from the machine, was now left with a hose gushing gallons of water all over my kitchen floor. And not just the floor, because the hose had taken on a life of its own and was now thrashing around making sure everything was wet, but mostly making sure I was wet. I managed to catch the hose after some trying, and found that it was just long enough to reach to the sink, but not long enough, or well behaved enough to stay there, so I beat it into submission with a cast iron pan. And went in search of the stopcock.An impression of hose from old washer
Water turned off, the gushing stopped and the mopping up began. At 1 o’clock in the sodding morning. To say I was not amused was an understatement. I finished the mopping and decided to reward myself with a cuppa before collapsing into bed. Except that the kettle was empty and now the water was turned off at the mains. Feck.
The washer was delivered the following day, at 1pm. It was a glorious day, and I think the delivery man was under the impression that I was keen to get the washer in so I could make a start on the pile of children’s clothes waiting to be washed, so I could get them out on the line. As if. I wanted a cup of tea!!
He took the old washer away to wherever it is old washers go, and I set about connecting the new one, putting it back in its place and switching the water back on. I filled the kettle, located the new box of teabags (wouldn’t that have been ironic, to find out we’d run out of tea?) and made that cuppa I’d been waiting 12 hours for.
And then I sat down to tell you this tale and my cuppa went cold. Sod it, pass the gin.