There was great excitement earlier this week when the washing machine man came round.
Well, we asked him to.
It's not like he just turns up unnanounced and demands tea and biscuits.
For a while* now, the washing machine has been making terrifying clanking rattling noises. Intermittently Not all the time, not every time we use the machine, not even every time we do the same kind of wash. That rare delightful thing, a truly intermittent fault.
It came to a head last weekend. I'd put a load of washing in, and the machine was rattling and graunching as though it had several tons of gravel inside it. A sharp crash, like metal on glass, reached us and Mr WithaY, a man pressed to breaking point, leapt to his feet and then to the phone. Ten minutes later, we had a hot date with the repairman.
He turned up as promised on Wednesday morning and got straight down to business, refusing my offers of hospitable refreshment. Tea? Coffee? A cold drink? Digestive biscuit? Toast? Anything? Just please FIX IT.
I had to restrain myself from clutching at his lapels.
He turned the machine on. No clanking. He turned it off. He turned it on, but on a different wash programme. Silence. He looked at the dials with a furrowed brow. I put the kettle on. He turned it** off, then on, then off again. I made tea.
We looked at one another in silence, frowning, him in genuine puzzlement, me just joining in to be friendly.
"Can you fetch me some towels?" he asked. Perhaps he needed to mop his fevered brow as he figured out what was wrong. Or maybe he got confused when he saw the kettle boiling and thought someone was having a baby.
Anyway, I went and fetched a couple of big towels which he loaded into the machine, before turning it on again.
There was a terrible rattling, graunching noise. Success.
He looked at me with some relief and said "Ah yes, I know what that is."
He turned it off, drained the water out and pulled the filter out of the bottom of the machine. He ferreted about up in the innards, which seemed rather indelicate, then extracted a 5p piece, holding it aloft in triumph.
"There," he said. "That was getting sucked into the [[tech]] and making it [[tech]] which is why it was [[tech]]."
"Aaah," I said. "Was it really? Gosh."
"Yes. That'll be a hundred pounds please."
*At least six months
**The washing machine, not the kettle