All washed up


Damian Clarke
Feb 14 · 5 min read

Wednesday, Reykjavik airport (and a very nice airport it is too!)

“We should try to get down the the launderette to wash these clothes this afternoon, before The Soprano turns up.”

Thursday, Home, in London

“I’ll try to do do that washing if I get time after work.”


“We’ll have to do the washing tomorrow morning — it’s getting ridiculous.”

“Well, I’ll have to drive you down there, then bring the car back, because the market will be on and we won’t find a parking spot.”

“No — we can go to the other one — on Hackney Road.”

“Oh yeah.”


It is raining in torrents. I return from dropping The Soprano off for an early start in Pimlico, energised by driving in London before the traffic wakes up, ready to do the washing before this evening’s party.

Mrs Albion meets me at the door.

“L&K had to return to Paris to fix something at the restaurant. Damo and Soph can’t get a babysitter.”

“Well Movie Man called me in the car to say that Julia is coughing like a seal and doesn’t want to come out — and frankly, from the noises I heard in the background, I don’t want her out either.”

“And the others couldn’t come from the start, because they’re still on holidays. Who is left?”

“Liv and RollerBoy, and Lori and Roy.”

“And the bags from Reykjavik are still in the lounge room.”

“You call Liv and cancel. I’ll call Roy.”

I am doing essential work at the computer. Mrs Albion enters the study, looking grave.

“Let’s buy a washing machine today — I can’t stand the launderette. It can live in the corner of the kitchen until you build the laundry.”

“OK. We’ll need a dryer too.”

“No, we’ll buy a washer dryer because both won’t fit in the car.”

“But I hate the way that condenser dryers dry the clothes — it boils them to death. Let’s get a washing machine and a dryer.”

Mrs Albion becomes hysterical more insistent.

“I want an appliance in here today — it has to be here today. I am never going back to the launderette again. I can’t stand it, you can’t stand it, it’s costing us twelve pounds a week to do the damn washing.


“What are you talking about? You’ve only done the washing twice — I’ve been doing it for three months.”


I look at my watch: 3pm.

In the next fifty minutes I learn that:

  • Comet (an electrical store, no longer trading — try Currys now) lets you look up what you want on-line, reserve it, then collect it at the store an hour later?
  • My new satnav, that Mrs Albion gave me for my birthday, works superbly
  • The trip to Comet takes less time when you have a satnav, giving you time to look at a new laptop
  • A Hotpoint 5+5 Washer/Dryer will fit in a Volkswagen Golf
  • It is almost worth forgoing instant gratification in order to have someone else manhandle an astoundingly heavy washer/dryer up the front stairs, along the hall and down the stairs to the kitchen…
A picture of a Hotpoint 5+5 Washer Dryer seemingly floating in nothingness
A Hotpoint 5+5 Waher Dryer (Photo courtesy of

You cannot know the sweet relief of having your own washing machine after four months of visiting the launderette at 6.30am to get it done before work.

I cook a green chicken curry while Mrs Albion fills the washing machine with the clothes.

We eat our green chicken curry in the kitchen, in front of our new washing machine, watching the clothes go around…

and around…

and around.

It is late.

Mrs Albion and I are watching TV in the lounge room. A rhythmic hum rolls gently up from the kitchen below. We hear the key in the front door.

The Soprano enters discretely, expecting a small party to be underway and puzzled by the quiet house.

Mrs Albion is barely visible — a little tuft of hair and a pair of eyes twinkling from beneath the mohair throw on the sofa. I, unsubtley sprawled all over Grandfather’s Chair, am hidden around the corner. Two Pints of Lager glows quietly on the TV. I call out a greeting and pull the furry chair over for The Soprano to join us in front of the TV, as she darkens the lounge room door.

The Soprano grips the door jamb like a rock climber and stretches one rather long leg as far as it will go, across the contents of Mrs Albion’s travel bag, which appears to have exploded on the floor. She points her toe, fingers gripping the door jamb like a rock climber’s, and stretches her leg as far as it can go. She releases her fingers, the tension springing her across the spilled clothes, and landing her outstretched toe by the furry chair.

I say, “You could have avoided that obstacle by walking three metres East, a metre-and-a-half North, and two metres west, to where you are now.”

The sofa giggles. The Soprano does too.

“What happened to the party?”

“We cancelled it,” from the sofa.

“I woke up this morning and it was so wet and awful. I thought that the last thing I wanted to do tonight was go out to a party. And given that it’s my party, I figured that everyone else was less motivated than me,” I added.

“Then we had some cancellations,” said Mrs Albion’s sofa.

“So we rang the remainder and said we’d do it another time.”

The gentle northern accents on the television wash over us.

“And we bought a washing machine.”

The Soprano shrieks, leaps out of her chair and runs down to the kitchen for a look.

Disclaimer: Our Albion and its agent Mr Albion do not intend to state, imply or otherwise communicate that Mrs Albion is, or may be, in any way, a “she-bitch” [her term] for desiring a clothes washing facility within her home in a timely manner, so as to avoid further use of the Broadway Market launderette.

Our Albion requests that anybody tempted to construe the words of this post as making Mrs Albion appear to be said “she-bitch” should first visit the launderette in Broadway market in order to understand the circumstances which led to her outburst. The launderette is open 24 hours, though Our Albion suggests you avoid the hours before dawn unless you wish to better acquaint yourself with homeless people, and Friday evenings, unless you are familiar with, and comfortable within, gang culture.

Copyright © Damian Clarke, 2020. Original post first published on the Our Albion blog, 8 January 2007.

I’ve included a couple of the comments here, because, well read them:

Comment from Cheerful One
Time: January 9, 2007, 5:04 pm

I once bought a cooker on the way home from a family funeral. Some days, you just need new appliances *now*.

Comment from mad muthas
Time: January 9, 2007, 5:43 pm

it’s a very sad thing when a new kitchen appliance causes more joy and satisfaction than a party … but i so know where you’re coming from.

Our Albion

he story of a guy with a hammer, some nails and an old house to use them on.

Damian Clarke

Written by

I’m a writer and publisher working in Sydney, Australia and London, UK. I specialise in finance, technology, insurance, property, medicine and sustainability.

Our Albion

he story of a guy with a hammer, some nails and an old house to use them on.

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