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The expanding washing basket

By Jo Green - Wed 18th May 2011

The Spanish disease of not being able to buy anything, or get anything done has struck me down again earlier this month - two things compounded, which have resulted in a mammoth pile of ironing for me to do.

About 1 month ago, just before easter my (1 year old) washing machine began to go wrong and on investigation the other half managed to find out that it was the belt that kept slipping off after a bit of fiddling around he managed to get it back on again. It worked for a few weeks and then started to get progressively worse until It couldn't complete a cycle without us having to stop it, refit the belt, and then start it again.

Eventually it came unusable, so (quite sensibly, for a change) the Other half decided to buy another belt and fit it to see if that made any difference at all before we spent any money unnecessarily on a call out fee from an engineer, or on buying any other more expensive parts.

I should perhaps say at this point that the washing machine never came with the usual operation & maintenance handbook and, even though it was an LG brand, the technical pages on their website claimed never to have heard of our particular model.

We ordered the replacement belt on the Tuesday and was told in typically Spanish style that it would need to be ordered and would take 'a few days'.

So given that Friday was Good Friday, I thought that allowing them the rest of the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday meant that I may be in with a reasonable chance of collecting it on the Saturday, which would only have meant being without a washing machine for a week, and would give me a bit of chance to catch up with things over the rest of the easter break.

Nope. Come back next week, I was told.

So, allowing for Easter Holidays on the Monday and Tuesday, I optimistically called in on the Thursday to find that the belt hadn't even been ordered !

So one and a half weeks down the line without a washing machine and still the belt would be 'a few more days'.

Fast forward to the following Friday : (Two and a half week sans washer) and the guy from the Ferreteria tracked us down in the local bar (How did he know we were going to be there ?) to give us the required belt.

Come the next day (Saturday) my other half spent all day attempting to fit the belt. Although the belt went on, it wouldn't actually stay on, and despite not having a manual, he diagnosed a 'wobbly pulley' (not strictly a technical term, I believe) and that either the bearing needed changing OR that the pulley simply needed tightening up.

Cue lack of correct tools and a couple of days attempting to purchase, beg, borrow and steal said correct tools...

Once we had the correct tools, we found that the nut holding the pulley on was badly cross-threaded, and, by costing up the replacement pulley bearings (assuming that may be the problem) on a similar model of machine, we found that the cost of replacing and fitting them could be as much as 200 euros - so this made buying a new machine the most attractive option.

By this stage it is 4 weeks since we did a load of washing, and we can only beg so many favours re: loads of dirty washing from friends...

I made it to the shop on the Wednesday and ordered a straightforward 'Ex-Stock' washer for delivery and installation the following day (Thursday) between 10am - 1pm when we could guarantee somebody would be in to receive it. A call from the shop later in the Evening to arrange a suitable time confuse me a little, as I thought that we had already arranged that, but told me that it was not possible for the Thursday - how about Friday ?

Of course, Sod's law said that we couldn't make Friday - how about Saturday ?

So at 5pm on what was possibly the best 'drying day' of the year, the delivery van rolled up, the washer was installed, and the industrial sized production line of washing and drying over 1 months worth of dirty clothes began.

I have literally just finished the mammoth ironing pile and opened a well-deserved bottle of wine (or 'Whine', as my other half calls it).

Once again, it just goes to show that buying something is never as easy as you think it should be here in Spain.

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