The new year has begun with a couple of ups and downs, probably a sign of things to come. Plain sailing can be so boring! Troughs and peaks are so much more exciting! But a small plea to the One in charge: please, not too rough a sea in 2016, I’d be grateful for a spell of doldrums now and then!
It does seem that our household gremlin likes to make his presence felt around Christmastime. Four years ago, we were treated to a burst boiler on Boxing Day: timed for the alliteration, maybe? Then the bathroom heater died. Last year, the flame control device on the gas oven failed and couldn’t be replaced, and this year the washing machine gave up the ghost.
During the Christmas and New Year break I investigated various possibilities including renting a machine, but finally decided to buy a new one. Ordered online, paid for, delivery scheduled next day (it was actually three days later, but that’s near enough) with removal of the old machine and installation of the new one all included: it seemed perfect. Two men brought the machine on Saturday afternoon. The first one, six foot six and built like an American fridge, pulled the old machine forward from its niche, looked behind and shook his head.
“Can’t do it,” he said. “The electric socket is in the adjoining unit, so we’d either have to remove the plug, which isn’t allowed, or cut a bigger hole in the side wall of the unit. We aren’t allowed to alter a client’s existing installations, so can’t do that, either. Health and safety.”
Could he at least take the old machine out? Oh no, because that would mean cutting the plug off. But it’s the old machine, it doesn’t matter if the plug is cut off. Ah, but the pipes also run through into the adjoining unit, so they couldn’t detach them, either. Arguing, pleading, availed nought.
“You need a plumber and electrician,” he said, showing scant sympathy and obviously eager to get away. “You can claim your money back for installation and recycling, though, since we can’t do it.”
Our kitchen is very small, and offers no space for the new washing machine until the old one has gone. Our new acquisition was left standing in the dining room, awaiting the arrival of a plumber/electrician. How easy that sounds! Plumbers and electricians are becoming rare breeds. Luckily, a friend of a friend has promised to come and have a look tomorrow and see whether he can help. Meanwhile, the laundry is piling up. Once upon a time, there were laundrettes …