Our washing machine had to be mended, and was away for two whole weeks. It felt like the whole house was broken, and we somehow had to limp on as best we could without it.
I love the sounds of a washing machine - the quiet purr of the spin cycle, the rhythmic chug of the drain and rinse and the happy beeps that tell me when it has finished. On a day off, when I am alone in the house, I love to hear the washing machine humming away in the background. Everything seems calm and organised when the washing machine is on.
When the children were very small pre-schoolers, doing a load of washing became an all-morning activity as they helped to bring the washing downstairs, sort it, load it, tip in too much fabric softener, wait impatiently for the cycle to finish, pull all the wet washing out of the drum, and then hang it all up. They loved the whole process. I was reminded of this when I took two emergency loads of school uniform round to my sister-in-law's to wash last weekend. As I sat on her sofa drinking tea, my three year old nephew dashed in and out of the kitchen telling me how many minutes were left, letting out a whoop of excitement when it was finished, and then pulling it all out of the machine and into my waiting bag.
Now with a teenager and a nearly-teen at home, it's all about getting them to be responsible for their own laundry, and I say things like "well if you wanted that particular t-shirt clean for this evening, you should have put a load of washing on rather than waiting for me to do it".
It's a good thing I rather enjoy the process of laundry. After two weeks without it, the machine has a vast mountain of clothes to get through now, and I am sorting, loading, hanging out and folding like a pro. Maybe I could borrow my little nephew to come and give me a hand?