John and I are open mouthed with awe and wonderment. We are like two Neanderthals staring at a wheel. I appreciate that Neanderthals don’t talk but work with me. Imagine our knuckles scraping the lino and me grunting.


‘How does it work?’


‘How does it open?’

‘Wow. Just wow.’

‘Where does the detergent go?’

It has been three months since we’ve seen a washing machine. We literally stand and stare at it for about five minutes then we run. We run for our bags and then we pour their entire contents into the machine. I stop just short of climbing in myself.

I have not missed doing laundry. Just in case you missed that fact. In has regularly topped my list of reasons why I’m not ever going home. Even surpassing the $125usd a month nanny.

However our clothes are so dirty they have their own rating. They are almost sentient they have so many life forms crawling through the fibres. The desire for clean clothes is momentarily overcoming my loathing of laundry doing.

In India we would take a bag of dirty clothes to the nearest shack and hand over 50p in exchange for the promise of a machine wash. In Hindi that translates as bashed against a rock. So all our clothes are bruised and dulled. It’s why I was almost blinded by the colour white when we arrived in Singapore.

In Bali we would hand over a bag of dirty clothes and for $8 they would take them away, iron them and return them wrapped in cellophane. They left out the vital getting wet and adding soap stage. At least, I thought they had. Just turns out they do use a machine, just not with hot water. So pointless. The rock washes were better.  Our clothes are now bruised, dulled, greying and stained.

Yet here before us stands a washing machine with beeping flashing lights, a place for detergent, even a setting for delicates, though I have none anymore (I’ve lost my bras remember).  We add the detergent and I stand and watch as water, hot water and soapy detergent pours into the drum. I have to suppress a tear.

63 minutes later the machine sings to me and I sprint into the kitchen and unload our clean mountain of clothes. I spend approximately the same amount of time hanging them up in soporific heat. I end up more wringing than the clothes. And that is when I remember exactly why and exactly how much I hate doing laundry. And why for the fourth month running ‘not doing my own laundry’ remains top of the can we live here pops.

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