“Hello, Emergency Services….”

My wife has just informed me that our washing machine is “On it’s way out.”

From this announcement, delivered in her distinctive County Durham lilt, I’m assuming she opines the appliance’s working life is coming to an end……. My spouse isn’t informing yours truly the washer is heading into town for a coffee with his good friend Arthur the refrigerator.

Before I go on, I wanted to clarify that obviously the washing machine, who for the purposes of anonymity I shall call Bernard, won’t be venturing into our fair metropolis with Arthur the fridge. An absolutely ludicrous notion, even by the broad boundaries I apply deciding what is acceptable when utilising artistic licence…… After all, Arthur goes to college on a Tuesday, meaning they couldn’t possibly be on their way to Costa Coffee in the Trinity Centre today.

Seriously, though, if Bernard is on his way to the white goods graveyard in the sky (well Seacroft tip to be more accurate) he’s had a good innings – Which is more than I did batting for various cricket clubs over 30 years.

The affable white appliance providing the Strachan family with 15 years of loyal service, love, companionship and mysterious concealment of odd socks.

I’ll be sad to see the little fella go. After all, he’ll leave a legacy of numerous memorable moments in the last decade and a half. Fond recollections that furnish the corners of our family psyche, such as the time we used him as a dish washer. An unforgettable occasion when, akin to the biblical parable of the loves and the fishes, he ‘thoughtfully’ turned a 16 piece dinner set into a 124 piece dinner service.

Actually, on reflection the parable of the dinner service doesn’t bear comparison with the parable of the loaves and fishes. After all, Jesus’ actions of feeding thousands with the five loaves and two fishes at his disposal was a tale of great humanity. Bernard’s, admittedly inadvertent, destruction of our crockery being no use or ornament to anyone. In fact, the very antithesis of Jesus’ work.

As I write, my wife Karen informs me our aged washing machine has commenced leaking water. I’ve told her not to worry as with Bernard in his dotage problems with his water works should be expected……. No, she didn’t laugh either. Not to mention appearing concerned I’ve started calling our moribund clothes washer Bernard.


“I’m going to ring 999!” my anxious looking spouse informed me. Causing me to reply:-

“Don’t do that!…. You can’t ring the emergency services to come fix a no longer fit for purpose washing machine.”

“I not ringing them to report a problem with a washing machine….. It’s for the ambulance you’re gonna need if you don’t stop winding me up, Gary!” she countered confrontationally.

“Ok, point taken!” I contritely accepted, acknowledging my wife’s obvious displeasure. Prior to adding “I’ll tell you what, Karen, I’ll have a look online at the options if Bernard does final pop his clogs.”

“Good idea…… If I were you I’d check the Currys and Argos websites first. They normally have decent deals on their white goods.” Karen proffered supportively.

“I won’t be looking at electrical retailer sites, Karen….. I’m going onto a website providing parental suggestions for kids names….. Personally, I’m leaning toward either Ewan or Archie for the new washer.” I clarified.

A short silence ensued, followed by the sound of Karen picking up her phone and moments later the call recipients words of “Hello emergency services……”

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