The trials of lockdown Laundry…

Seven days into lockdown my washing machine, which had served me well, decided to become a space rocket. It had never been the quietest of machines but excelled itself when it began dancing up and down under the work surface while emitting an ear-splitting, clanking cacophony. This lasted for about half an hour, during which I was sure it was going to burst out and upwards at any moment. The cat and I fled the house until all was silent and we realised the machine had, more than likely, ‘had its wee day’.

The prospect of having to hand-wash my clothes for the next two or three months was horrific. But, surely, a washing machine was an ‘essential’ item? So I called my local ‘white goods’ supplier. A kind man, called Jeff, answered and told me all I had to do was peruse their web site, choose a new machine and let him know. A man in a van would come and install it – distancing of course – and take the old one away. What a relief! Then I went online…

Life today is full of new experiences. Old experiences – such as choosing a washing machine – are dead in the water. This brave new world lets you do it all on a screen. No longer is a person pointing out the innovative abilities of this or that model to make your whites whiter than white, you now have a photograph and a ‘blurb’.

The first one proudly informed me their appliance came in a ‘classic, glossy, white finish’ and ‘would suit the ‘look’ of any modern home.’ Don’t they all? And haven’t they been like that forever?

This got me thinking… I would love a pink machine or a blue one – or maybe yellow? My quixotic attention was drifting already and I was only at number one on a long list.

Reading on, I discovered another machine had, ‘anti-stain, anti-allergy and stain-bursting washes’. With 16 programmes I could, ‘feel confident that no matter what the stain – wine, blood or grease, the machine had the setting to deal with it.’ Gosh! I could commit the perfect murder… My imagination again, flying away from the task in hand.

Next – get this – an ‘Eco-Bubble’ washing machine offering just about everything needed – AND MORE!! I wondered what else could one desire a washing machine to actually do, other than washing your clothes. Would it hang them on the line? Fold them, put them away? I was hence not immediately excited to learn this ‘innovative eco-bubble technology’ is used to create a soapy foam that is pumped in with the washing. I think my grandmother did this with a bar of soap and my grandfather’s socks, but never mind. This penetrates the fabric deeper and more evenly than the standard washing machine and can be added to any programme with the touch of a button. I then had visions of the perfect, frilly-apron-wearing housewife standing with her finger on her chin, desperately trying to decide should she press that button. ‘Did her husband’s shirts need those amazing little bubbles that day or not?’

After pressing the magic button, the temperature would be lowered, “without compromising on performance.” Wow! Washing machines have certainly grown up!

Another ‘sophisticated’ machine has fourteen programmes, each with a specific function, whether you need to wash your waterproof coat – ‘After a week in the wild!’ or your best outfit ‘For a big weekend!’

Number six on the list specialised in baby care, bedding, dark garments and wool. Its drum, uniquely designed, has smaller holes and a diamond imprint which cushions your laundry and gives it the care it deserves. It provides a quiet, reliable and long-lasting performance, which comes as ‘standard’. Thanks to the ‘Digital Inverter Motor’, if there is an error, the Smart Check allows you to download the App, and you can scan the message displayed on the LED screen. You’ll be able to diagnose the error yourself! (They do not mention who will fix it.) The blurb finished with, ‘Outstanding results across the board.’ Might this, by any chance, be the ironing board?

The most expensive machine has a ‘gentle, honeycomb drum where the clothes glide over a hexagonal sculptured structure with measured detergent use. It runs quietly with ‘bespoke’ wash programmes, including, ‘proofing’ and ‘Tooltip’ information that tells you about energy and water consumption.

‘Please!’ I longed to cry, ‘I don’t want to think about these things in the middle of a busy day – I just want to bung in the clothes, switch on and forget about them.’

The next machine understood ‘time is of the essence’, with a plethora of programmes including remote control. It has an A+++ class for washing and spin performance and has ‘One Touch’ connectivity. Simply downloading the App enables you to access a host of extra features! Through smartphone or tablet you can pair the device with the washing machine through either Near Field Communication, Wi-Fi or mobile data.

After reading this, I decided a washboard down at the river was more ‘my thing’.

It continued… ‘You can receive a report of your laundry activities, perform maintenance checks and even download a new cycle which is then accessed by the One Touch setting.’

An image of an executive person came into my mind who, in the middle of a management meeting, suddenly wondered, ‘What about my laundry? Maybe I should get a progress report? Did I press that button before I left? Does it need me to tell it what to do?’

With all this information to hand, I could now decide which machine to buy – couldn’t I??? No, I wanted to lie down somewhere and drum my heels on the ground. So I phoned Jeff, who, after I told him how much washing I usually did in a normal week, suggested a certain model which I promptly ordered. The gentleman who came to fit it told me (without being asked) the number of the programme most people used and turned the button to that. It has been there ever since and will stay that way until my new machine, in its turn, tries to take off for the moon.

Good drying weather!” by judy dean is licensed under CC BY

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