Some of us are born to it!

Hello again. As you know, we're back in Blighty just now, escaping from the 50 degrees (and +) which those poor beggars in Luxor are currently experiencing.

That fact means that I'm being, once again, employed as my wife's Handy Man. What she doesn't realise is that the title really refers to the fact that I'm here and available, and not that I am multi-skilled! Although she should be well aware of this, after all these years of botched repairs and sheer foolishness.

Not many men would admit to such failings where their very masculinity might be brought into question, but, I cannot tell a lie!

Yes, Dear Reader, it's our washing machine! I noticed, whilst washing the dishes in the sink next to it, that when it was emptying (into the same waste pipe below the sink) a rather unpleasant smell emitted from the sink overflow.

After putting my mind to it, I deduced that the smell must be coming from a build-up of something in the drain tube which comes from the washer, as if it was actually coming from inside the machine, then the clean clothes would also have some sort of odour, which they haven't. I'm no fool, you know! All I needed to do was to take the pipe off and give it a good cleaning out! "Voila!" said Zebedee, in French. (That's a bit of a colloquialism, in that it's occasionally repeated in such circumstances, and is taken from a children's TV programme of years ago called "The Magic Roundabout")

Now, I know that as I get older, I'm losing my strength. It's a natural be happens to us all. But, I would have expected to be able to drag the washing machine out from under the bench, surely? The beggar wouldn't budge!!! It was as if it had been screwed to the floor; solid!

Time went on, and the smell got worse, to the point where Freda said that I should get Number-One-Son to give me a hand to shift it. Eventually, we were both in the house together, and he seemed to be in a good mood, so I asked him to help. No problem, great!

Now then, my son and heir isn't built like Arnie, or Tarzan, but I was confident that we'd master this lump of tinplate between us. I was wrong! It still wouldn't come. But it had budged, it was as if the front left-hand foot was fixed to the floor, and it turned a little from side to side, very strange.

Last year, I extended the bench next to the sink and washing machine to facilitate moving the microwave from where Freda wanted more working surface, nearer the cooker. Apart from not being able to get the right edging trim for the semi-circular cut of the new piece of bench, it worked out quite well, I was pleased.

I realise that it's not all that pretty, but the bin, a bag for recyclable stuff and a hook for the brush and pan fit in there quite nicely, thank you.

Number-One-Son cheekily suggested that I might have screwed the brass hook through the bench end panel and into the side of the washer. "Don't be ridiculous! The wood screws wouldn't have gone through the metal side of the machine. Anyway, they're not long enough." Hmph, that boy!!!!!!!

He took out the two screws anyway, in defiance of his elders and betters (me) only to see that they were too short after all, and that they didn't even protrude through the MDF end panel! (The cheek of it!) Not being satisfied, he went on to unscrew the bigger screw on which the dust-pan hung. After one and a half turns, the washer moved! I couldn't believe it; the screw had gone through the MDF and into the soft plastic washing machine top cover. I didn't know whether to punch him or kiss him!

You'll be pleased to know that, although we got quite a bit of muck out of the pipe, it wasn't that which was causing the whiff! We went on to strip and clean the whole of the kitchen waste pipe system, some nasty stuff in there, believe me!
So there you are, some of us are, indeed, born to it! Born to incompetence, that is!

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