Order No Rainbows

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Beware of the washing machine

on October 1, 2012

My flat is home to possibly the world’s crappiest old-fashioned washing machine. You know, the type that you load clothes in from the top, after persuading the metal tumbler to open it’s evil jaws.

I’ve been struggling with it since I moved in – I don’t think top loading washing machines have been in common use in the UK or Ireland for at least 30 years. Despite my landlady giving me a short demonstration on how to use it, I kept having problems getting it to work – clothes that had been through a complete cycle didn’t seem clean, still had soap in them, etc. But I struggled on, determined to get to grips with it.

Yesterday however may have marked the end of our brief, but troubled relationship. After taking 6 hours to run through a cycle, the next load was washed after just 2 hours. I went to get the clothes out to hang them up before going to bed- this was around 10:30, but the tumbler wouldn’t open. I eventually got it to open but realised on removing the clothes that it had taken a sizeable chunk out of the tip of my middle finger, which was bleeding heavily.

I wrapped my kitchen in a towel and hung up the washing, thinking that the bleeding would stop within a few minutes. No such luck. 30 minutes later the blood was still coming and showed no sign of stopping. Action was therefore called for. When asked for advice, Mr Google recommended a trip to the doctor to resolve the problem. One slightproblem – I don’t yet have a doctor here, and didn’t know of a surgery, or even a pharmacy, that was open on late on Sunday night – this is Deadsville after 8pm. However the local hospital is just round the corner and has an emergency department.

5 ninutes spent looking for my E111 card, health insurance document, passport and money and I was on my way.I arrived at the hospital a few minutes later to find the place in darkness. A panicky phone call to my boss got me directions to the porter’s lodge, from which a nice lady, who spoke no english but who spoke to my boss in Czech on the phone, agreed to take me to the emergency department. This involved opening two locked doors and looking for a nurse in a deserted department, which seemed very strange, as I’ve worked in a hospital where the casualty department was always full to bursting.

This is not the case in Blansko however. After processing my paperwork, frowning at my finger and extracting a fee of 90 crowns (around £3), the nurse summoned the doctor on duty, who not only spoke English but did so with a hilarious drawling accent that made him sound like a cross between Kenneth Williams (from the Carry On films) and Snagglepuss (a cartoon character). He took a look at my finger, pronounced me out of immediate danger and opined that the wretched washing machine belonged “in a bloody museum dear”. He then got the nurse to put some stuff on my finger and bandage it up before launching into a description of Englans’s virtues, which suggested that he was living in a very different version of England to the one I inhabited – apparently the people are all really friendly, the place is really clean and it’s quite cheap to live there. Anyway he discharged me and 5 minutes later I was home.
Adventure over.

Today, My finger hurts like hell and I’m having trouble accomplishing basic tasks like washing my hair and carrying stuff. I spent a lot of the morning explaining to my sharp-eyed students how I’ve come to having one finger wrapped in an enormous bandage (enormous compared to the size of the underlying cut anyway) and this afternoon I am about to start searching for a second-hand washing machine that is properly housetrained and won’t try to attack me when I ask it to do the job it was made for. Housework is way more dangerous than you’d think.


One response to “Beware of the washing machine

  1. There are lots of washing machines like that in Norway, because they are narrower than a normal front loader. They are essentially a front loader – the drum is in the same orientation, compared with American washing machines and those I used at uni which had the drum orientated with the drum lying horizontal.

    Btw bbc news has some incident going on in Bolton today!


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