Our washing machine history is a metaphor for the postwar socio-economic history of Britain. If that title does not intrigue you, then go fuck yourself, basically.

Bastard Hoover.

Bastard, bastard Hoover.  Fuck them. Fuck ’em.  Dyson should roll into their HQ in armoured cars and flatten it.  Raze everything in a 20 mile radius to the ground and sow salt into the soil.  All memory of them should be expunged from the history books.  Hoovers should be hung from every lamppost from here to London.

Come ‘Merican bombs and tumble on Merthyr Tydfil



Well.. We’ll get there.

Our our washing machine history is a metaphor for the decline of Britain. Stupid Brexit voting Britain.

Our first washing machine was a cast off.   Mrs Gin’s granny died and we got her old washing machine.  This was about the year 2000 and the machine was already a good 10 years old then.


British made, with concrete in the base to weigh it down and rudimentary controls.

There was ‘On’, ‘Off’, ‘Hot Wash’, ‘Regular Wash’, and ‘Spin’.  Boom,  that’s yer lot.  Wool Wash?  We don’t think so.  Eco wash?  Eco Wash? Don’t make us fucking laugh.

We had this washer a good 15 years, which coincided with the birth of our kids.  Hot wash, of course.  Who cares about the ozone layer? We washed piles of Polyester in that fucker. Acres of cotton.   Stained cotton. Dirty, dirty cotton.

Hot washed and then spun.  Cotton grown meek in India, shat in in Manchester, washed Bold.  Our son never settled so we washed at midnight, at dawn and at midday.

This washing machine reminded us of Mrs Gin’s gran.  It reminded us of the end of the British Empire.  As basic as a boiled potato. Out of date, unfashionable even (‘What do you mean you have no eco wash?).  But also solid, unfussy, and – yes – trustworthy.  Despite everything, a friend.  Perhaps our only friend.

Over the years bits fell off it and were replaced, Ship of Theseus / Trigger’s Broom like.  Brushes, rotors and other part names that don’t sound like they are essential for a washing machine, until you are being charged £100 for a replacement for them.   Then -reluctantly -it just stopped working.  The old warhorse could simply take no more.  (Insert joke about Mrs Gin here).  The repairman said ‘They don’t make ’em like this anymore’ and charged us £30 to remove it.   This washing machine sums up Britain, say, 1953- 1997. Out of date, archaic even.  Battered and worn out. A relic, yes, but despite its cheapness, reliable.  Steadfast.  God we loved it.


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We went to Currys to buy a new one.  We got it about 5 years ago.  It was a Hoover.

Fuck you Hoover.  Worse than Ocado.  Why?

Because our 5 year old washing machine has died.  That’s why.  Quite early last Sunday, we went to wash Mrs Gin’s smalls.  Instead we got an ‘E-08’ message.  Disconcertingly vague, we thought.  We googled it and, along with messages E-01, E-02, E-04, E-05, E-06, and E-07 * it meant ‘Sorry chum, you’re fucked’.

Now, no-one wants to see Mrs Gin’s smalls, let alone wash the buggers.  We understand.  We do.  But we’ve only had this washing machine 5 years.  Conking out now is outrageous.  We got a guy in to fix it, he said ‘Nah the motherboard’s gone mate.  Waste of time’

‘Motherboard?’ we thought, but instead we nodded as if we understood him.  As if we liked him.  As if we were not desperate for him to like us back.


As if.

He got in his van and drove off.


We wondered if his ‘waste of time’ was referring to us calling him out to fix an E-08 riddled machine, or a comment on the build quality of the Hoover factory.  We decided, almost quickly enough, on the latter.

This washing machine represents Britain from around 1997 till 23rd June 2016.  Cool Wash Britannia, if you like.  It had Wool Wash, Cool Wash, Eco wash, (finally!), and programmable ‘runtimes’ (which we never used).  It had complicated icons that flashed and you had to look up what the flashing meant in a little manual. It had a snazzy logo.  It had a ’15 minute speed wash and dry’.   Consistently, this neither washed the clothes properly, nor dried them, either.  We never used it; Mrs Gin swore by it.  As a showstopper, it washed AND dried, if you please.  Very ‘Can do’  Until it fucking couldn’t.  We hated the tumble drier; Mrs Gin would switch it on for a ‘Sun Dry’ setting which took about 3 hours.  It set our teeth on edge.  We’d sit on the edge of the sofa trying to concentrate on ‘Cash in the Attic’, fretting about the cost, until we gave in, went to the utility room and pressed ON till it said ‘OFF’.  That’s how you switched it off.  Pressed and held the ON button.   More brilliant design, Hoover. Then, in the face of her bitter accusations of meddling with the controls,  sweetly we would claim it had finished in its own time.  3 hours must simply have passed.

‘Time flies when your having fun, my dear’ we’d say to Mrs Gin. And she would look at us.  She would look.

But 5 years later,  and the party is over.   Like Britain 1997-2016, it looked good but

The bastard is fucked

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5 fucking years?  That’s the blink of an eye.  You don’t expect a washing machine from someone as venerable as Hoover to only last 5 years.

Today, we bought a Samsung.  This new one represents modern Britain.   Eco Wash.  Super Eco Wash. Hot wash, cold wash, tepid  wash, spin, super spin, hyper spin.   Too many bloody options, too much choice. Full of broken dreams, too.  We were ASSURED it would last 10 years (‘an extra £350m a week for the NHS’), but we don’t believed the oily salesman.  Made by borderline slaves and marketed by a faceless multinational corporation that pretends to be our friend, but is not.

Its got a slot in the door so if you find something that needs washing after the wash has started, you can add it.  We detest this.  Sloppiness should be punished, not indulged.   It’s in ‘Titanium Grey’ and has a Triple A Energy Rating. As if it were hewn out of recycled wood and solar powered, rather than made in China out of God knows what and plastic.  Doubtless there is an App you can install that makes it start a wash when you’re out, or something equally as pointless.  We won’t understand it, and we will long for our first washer.  Simpler times.  But those times are gone, chum.  The party is over.

Modern bloody Britain.  Brexit bloody Britain.  You’re welcome to it.

*We too are intrigued by the elusive ‘E03’.  If anyone has had this one, do write in and tell us about it.

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