It has to be one of those laws, too numerous for us all to remember the names of, that says that any piece of household equipment will choose one of the most inconvenient times to die.
Here, in sunny Lancashire (!) the week before Christmas saw me removing laundry from the washing machine which was dripping. When I recovered from the shock, I wrang the clothes out over the sink, then walked up the icy roads with my trusty shopping trolley heavy with still very wet washing, to the local launderette, where I invested two twenty pence pieces in using their spin drier.
The trolley weighed considerably less on the way home!
We decided that we might find a pre-January sale bargain if we held on until after Christmas before we bought a new machine, so I repeated the journey to the launderette with a couple of loads of washing - I'm sure some unkind folk must have thought I was the new "bag lady" of the area!! Fortunately, the charity book shop is just one minute's stroll from the launderette, so there was no problem as to what to do with my time whilst I waited for the giant machines to work their magic. Lucky that, eh?
Did we see any pre-sale bargains? Well, let's say there were as many of those as there were effective chocolate tea pots. However, I did decide that this time I was going to buy a top-loader, rather than the more common front-loader. They take up a smaller footprint on the floor, and can be very energy efficient.
What I found surprising, as I wandered round the shops, was that every machine was cold-fill only. Whether I planned on spending a couple of hundred, or a thousand pounds, I would only be using one hose inlet, not the usual two.
I finally opted for a Hoover, with an A+ AA rating, and it's been busy handling the backlog of washing very well. It's cold-fill, as I said, but I can't see the point in using electricity to heat the water, when my hot water in the home is heated by gas, which is still cheaper than electricity, even though it's creeping up.
So, when I've filled the drum and added the washing liquid, I run the hot tap at the sink, then carry six kettles full of hot water across the room and pour the steaming contents over the washing, before starting the machine. That way, I use far less electricity than I would otherwise, and it speeds up the wash time, too.