I’m aware that many of you have come to rely on me for practical advice about household matters. It’s a duty I take very seriously. And I’m delighted to be able to recommend the JLWM1200 washing machine from John Lewis, one of which was delivered to us on Tuesday. What I particularly liked about this model is that it was the cheapest one they had. And I can now confirm that it does, actually, clean your clothes rather well – you could eat your dinner off my underpants.
There’s only one small worm in my cherry. When I was trying to fix the old machine, I got it into my head that there might be some sort of blockage in the pipe into which you plug the hose thingy at the back of the machine, to carry away the dirty water: that touching human soup of life’s exudations, secretions, accidents. Anyway, the bit of bamboo that I used to poke about in the pipe broke in half and fell into the hole. And then some more bamboo that I used to try to fish out the first bit of bamboo also fell in the pipe. Despite trying for an hour, I couldn’t get them out, party because I’m not bendy enough to get into the right position, and partly because it’s just really hard to get sticks out of pipes in awkward to reach corners of your utility cupboard.
The John Lewis men came round to install the new machine, and I meant to tell them about the bamboo, but I just couldn’t do it. I knew they’d think less of me, as a man. I’d become, in their eyes, not a fellow horny-handed toiler, practical, and cool under pressure, but the sort of person who lost bits of bamboo in the plumbing.
And so they’re still there, those two lengths of bamboo. And I think about them all the time. They come to me in the night, like Banquo’s ghost, or Hamlet’s dad, or Lucy Westenra, imploring, yearning, fatal. And I’ll never be free of them.