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Wednesday 25th January 2023


A rather excellent engineer came to mend our washing machine this morning. He loved his jobs, loved washing machines and has been working with them for 21 years. He rang me to let me know that he was on the way, but asked loads of questions first. I realised that he was trying to solve the problem over the phone, to save him a visit and me a call out fee. I explained that I knew that the drain pump was blocked and that I’d managed to drain the machine, but hadn’t been able to turn the necessary dial far enough so couldn’t empty it myself. He was asking if there were lots of bits of legos in my house that might have found their way in and did we empty our pockets before washing stuff. I explained that we did, but in five and a half years, the odd thing might have slipped through.
He arrived 45 minutes later and he couldn’t get the drain pump out either, which was a relief as I’d envisioned him turning up and doing it in one minute and making me look a fool who now owed him £106. But he lifted the machine up and unscrewed a bolt, even though he couldn’t see what he was doing and pulled out a hair clip, a stick on heart, 22pence and some gunk. No lego though, so I won. He said he was keeping the 22p for his kids, which I think was fair enough and also that he never wanted to rip people off. Other people might have just broken the drain pump valve to get the detritus out or charged me for a new pump, but he didn’t do stuff like that. He cared too much for washing machines. In fact, having solved the problem he then gave both the washing machine and dryer a look over to see if they were running efficiently and chastised me for letting my dryer filters get blocked up and my washing machine get dirty and took out the drawer for the softener and detergent and showed me how gunked up it was. He was disappointed that my machines were in the cold garage and said they wouldn’t work so efficiently there and might be damaged by the cold. As it turned out once he tried to show me the machine was fixed he couldn’t get it working because the pipes were frozen again. But he understood that we had nowhere else to put it and allowed his babies to stay with us.
I spent twenty minutes cleaning the machines after he left and once the rain came and things thawed the washing machine worked again, which is a relief after a week of having to find alternative arrangements. A family of 4 produces a surprising amount of laundry. Those maltreated machines have served us well for all these months in warmth and cold- though it’s notable for climate change fans that it’s only really in the last few months that the pipes have frozen in this way.
I didn’t ask the engineer’s name, but have given him a glowing review in the obligatory email questionnaire about his performance. Even though he doesn’t deal well with the cold himself (he comes from India where things are a bit warmer) it’s remarkable to see someone going above and beyond and being keen to keep things as economical as possible. I hope his kids spend the 22p wisely and not on washing machine clogging lego. He also wanted me to watch what he did so I could fix the machine next time (though it turned out he did more than I would have been able to) and I was glad to see that I had done everything possible and it was due to the huge amount of accumulated junk that the screw wouldn’t twist out any further.

Exciting news for any nutty boys and girls (probably in their fifties and sixties), one of my guests for RHLSTP on 20th March will be Suggs from off of Madness. Links and other guests here.
You can watch the sold out London shows live or afterwards by buying a ticket here
Joining John Kearns on 26th February in Leicester will be Nish Kumar - you can add your name to the waiting list for tickets.

RHLSTP with a thoughtful Paul Chowdhry is now up in all the usual places.

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