I'm very sorry but we need to have a conversation about washing machines, and apologies for those initials which I now see could also stand for Weapons of Mass Destruction. It was actually a close-run thing.
The nearest I can link this to a book is Washing Lines, that wonderful collection of poems from Lautus Press. In fact let's begin with a morsel from the poem Laundry by Ruth Moose..
There is joy in clean laundry.
All is forgiven in water, sun
and air. We offer our day's deeds
to the blue-eyed sky, with soap and prayer,
our arms up, then lowered in supplication.
By chance I saw a copy of this in a tiny bookshop on Orkney where it has to be said they sensibly, given the wind, major on washing lines...
I started taking pictures but had to stop...they were endless.
And I only ever need the slightest excuse to use Washing Day, my favourite picture by local artist Dorothy Ward.
I chanced on a conversation about washing machines on a very amusing online forum that I belong to. Ostensibly the forum's purpose is to 'discuss' (I use the term loosely) The Archers... currently we are very exercised over Pip Archer and at what point is she going to fess up to the roving cows which seem to have spread some ghastly disease around the village herds, or is Ed Grundy going to grass on her (this will only make sense to those who listen, sorry). However all other topics are up for discussion and on the washing machine thread it became clear that March had been National Washing Machine Disorder Month.
To be honest I didn't know that so much could go wrong with a washing machine. Bearings, brushes, imploding motors, disintegrating stabilisers, failing pumps, dented drums... the list was endless and the repair bills eye-wateringly expensive which all seemed to bear out our decision to halt the repairman at the £43 point and quit while we were winning. The machine had deceased with the most horrendous noise which we had thought was the air ambulance flying low over the roof again, and when the repairman's attentions strayed beyond the pump to the motor, and hence to the control panel, it was clear we were at endgame with our Bosch.
Liz Gallagher knows this feeling I think, herewith an opening burst from, A Washing Machine Repairman Speaks on Poetry
'The repairman says that poetry is over-rated, meanwhile
he eases his shoulder against a jammed washing machine
door. There is no budging. The blanket inside is the exact
same colour as my cat. Tinges of brown and cream wool
swell out among dried-up bubbles behind the glass door.
The repairman says that this blanket could be ruined for life.'
The thing is neither of us can really remember how old this machine is. It seems young by our standards, but then tempus fugit etc. It doesn't seem five minutes since we had replaced our Miele workhorse which did fifteen years or so of solid hard work, bought in the days when we could afford such a good one because Bookhound had the local Miele account. It would seem gone are the days when things were of 'merchantable quality' and you could expect a good life expectancy from something mechanical. If I looked hard enough there's probably a blog post on here somewhere, I clearly feel moved enough to come and tell you this time around so probably did the last time too. Luckily we don't have to rush to buy a new one because we can use the machine (another Bosch... oh dear) in the Tinker's kitchen, and anyway I had been feeling slightly guilty about being a two washing machine household...
But if we were to buy new what would any of you recommend because we'll have to fill the gaping hole eventually...
I figure this consumer research will be as valid if not more so than any amount of googling so please can you share your washing machine stories.
Go on...name and shame the disasters, name and praise those that seem to have eternal life (preferably with a spin speed faster than light). I promise you won't be jinxing them either because I have made supplications to St Clare of Assisi, the Patron Saint of Laundry Workers on our behalf, who, as luck would have it was also canonised on 26th September, my birthday (albeit it 698 years earlier). The omens are good.
And while we are on the subject of laundry...it was suggested on that original forum that all modern washing powders and liquids are less effective at temperatures above 30°c and I'm wondering how true this is...
Have I been wasting time and money with the occasional 60°c wash for towels or hot whites....
Someone out there will know.
Today the sun was shining
so my neighbour washed her nightdresses in the river -
she comes home with everything folded in a basket,
beaming as though her life has just been
lengthened a decade. Cleanliness makes her happy -
it says you can begin again,
the old mistakes needn't hold you back.