A year ago now we had what can only be described as a domestic disaster. There have been many previously, but this one was major. A week before I went into labour, the washing machine started making a funny noise. You know the kind of noise. Any noise your washing machine makes that it shouldn't, is a worrying noise.
I didn't do anything about it. I was sure it would be fine. It just made a loud noise when it span, right? Wrong. It started making the noise more often, when it span, when the rinse cycle started, pretty much all of the time.
But I was overdue, fat and, well, preoccupied with a two year old son. So I didn't worry about it. Then my daughter was born and I couldn't remember my own name, let alone what a washing machine was. My wonderful mother stepped up to the mark, putting on at least one daily wash, then pegging tiny babygros out on the line to dry. All was going well until the smell of burning joined the worrying noise.
The burning smell was bad. Very bad. And it was coming from the washing machine. The seven year old washing machine that had never broken before (apart from an incident with an under-wire from a bra, but that's happened to all of us I'm sure).
A man was called. Because that's what you do when your washing machine smells of burning and sounds like you've put a breeze block in it just for fun. The man opened the door and shook his head. It turned out the man didn't speak much English, but his gestures clearly showed the washing machine was dead. RIP washing machine.
We were coming to terms with the sad news when we realised the enormity of the situation. We had no washing machine. Nothing to wash our clothes in. We had a newborn baby. One who could puke and poop and puke and poop and puke (you get the idea) forever! There was a seemingly never ending stream of dirty washing and we couldn't do anything with it.
We ordered a new machine, but it wouldn't be with us for another week. I think every family member took a load and helped us out. I went to the laundrette every couple of days. We got through it.
I have never been so relieved to see a kitchen appliance as when the new machine arrived. It is easy to use, has lots of different settings, can do a quick wash in 15 minutes and is there when I need it. Needless to say, I appreciate the washing machine so much more now that I have had to cope without one and with a newborn baby.
I also learnt a valuable stain removal tip from my Grandma during this time (excellent for those newborn emissions). As soon as an item becomes stained, submerge it in cold water for at least five minutes. Make sure it's cold water though. Then treat the stain as you normally would (with stain remover). It really does help to get it out of the fabric!
Fingers crossed that our current machine is with us for a long time.