This morning, whilst awaiting my friends from Huis Clos, I left the front door open. The neighbourhood cats seemed to see this as an invitation. First the black one which marauds the bar, then a more exotic Persian or something. Of course, when you politely invite them to leave you have to do it in French, being careful to use ‘tu’ rather than ‘vous’. It doesn’t do to be too courteous. I learned this last year one night at 3 a.m., leaning out of my bedroom window to dissuade a large Labrador from tearing open my black bag left out for the binmen.
Kim and Saufiene, full of apologies, turned up an hour late. They knew it was no use phoning me unless I happened to be in the loo and there happened to be a signal. They had had to go to Bergerac to collect a bigger car. Not only did they carry the washing machine into the kitchen, but they also fitted it for me. There was a pair of Kim’s underpants in the drum. I suggested his grandmother must have forgotten them. ‘No, it was me.’, he replied.
I joyfully loaded up the machine with some of the wet towels and set it going. Within a few minutes the ‘finish’ light was flashing. I started it again. Same again. I stared at the dials, trying to decipher what was wrong. I couldn’t see anything. I couldn’t, of couse, open the door. I’d just have to do what Roger did. This meant first pulling out the dishwasher, then the washing machine. As I’d run the dishwasher earlier, I thought I’d empty it first. Practically nothing was clean. Hopefully, I should have rinsed the contents first rather than allow them to dessicate and coagulate until the machine was full. I certainly wasn’t about to investigate that problem. Most likely I will avoid it by washing up in the sink, as we do in Morden. I diverted myself by doing a week’s washing up. Then I handwashed the remaining towels and hung them in the garden. Then I’d run out of delaying tactics.
Saufiene is taller than me, but he had crawled under the kitchen surfaces to make the connections with no problem. I had thanked him profusely, saying that my back would no longer let me get under there. Now I was going to have to do it. Getting down was one thing, getting up required a little more thought. Anyway, I managed it. No-one was there to hear my yelps. Feeling rather chuffed with myself, I pulled out the electric plug so I would be able to open the door when I had applied the Munns method of draining. There wasn’t any water in the drum.
Then I tried a very small wash. Just a T-shirt and some smalls. The flashing ‘finish’ soon came into operation. Needing time to think and remain calm, I decided to handwash the towels I’d extracted. It was then I was reminded that I had turned the water off at the mains before draining the drum which hadn’t needed draining. I turned the water on and tried again. Same result. This was the moment which, those who remember the advertisements will know, calls for a Hamlet. I hadn’t got one, so I’ll just have to wait until someone more knowledgeable and practical turns up. Jackie, why aren’t you here?
Life’s not all bad. I’ve received an e-mail from my accountant saying I have been sent a tax refund of £85.
Having wasted most of the day with machines, and booked my thrice-yearly haircut, walking went out of the window. My locks shorn, I settled for an amble around the village, before going up to Le Code Bar. This evening I was well satisfied with duck in pepper sauce, chips and salad, followed by chocolate sponge which we called chocolate surprise pudding, only miles better. The pepper sauce was so tasty that I saved some of my bread to mop up the last bit. One large Stella was sufficient for my liquid requirements.