I see his van backing into the drive; I scoot to the front door eagerly.
The Washing Machine Man has been having difficulty getting the part he requires. Since then, the washing has been mounting up. A huge pile rises up from the scullery floor: t-shirts, trousers, towels, jumpers and underwear. It dominates the room, making it nigh-impossible to get to the essential utilities. The bottom of the mound is solidifying; I have been concerned for some days that if I do not do something quickly to reduce the heap, the council will come round and list it.
I open the door, shifting awkwardly in my cricket jockstrap, which is the only thing I have left to wear under my jeans.
The Washing Machine Man spoke to me over the phone – his plan, in the absence of a new replacement part, is to install a reconditioned temporary part, which will at least allow me to get some washing done. I am grateful for this, as there does come a point when taking laundry to the neighbours’ houses ceases to become a one-off favour, and becomes an ongoing expectation. Big A, and Eddie, and the Chipper Barman are good friends, and have been very understanding and accommodating, but I have had to widen my net further to include people like mothers of the Toddler’s friends at nursery, and I suspect enough is enough.
It is a good plan, only marred by the fact that it transpires that I thought he meant that he would bring a temporary replacement part, whereas he was talking about a temporary replacement washing machine.
He pulls out my old washing machine and installs the new one, and promises to chase up the new part as soon as he can. I now have a scullery that is dominated both by a mountainous pile of soiled laundry and a broken spare washing machine.
I thank him for his clever plan and begin to chip away at clothing.