Another death in the family

Poor Mr W. died on Saturday.

We were using his services, much like we do every weekend, and he just gave up the ghost on us, with barely even a whisper. One moment there, the next, dead as a dodo.

Mr W. had been struggling for the last few weeks. At certain times he was making a strange, unnatural, and rather loud whining. Much as though something was not quite right but he couldn’t find the right way to say what it was.

Then, last weekend, I really upset him by giving him a special tonic. I think that was the final insult – trying to fix things after years of neglect was all too much and he couldn’t handle it any more.

So we’ve replaced Mr W. Seeing as he rather abruptly withdrew his services, we decided to unilaterally give him the sack. Death is no excuse, as any boss and student of the not-yet-withdrawn workplace laws knows only too well.

Unfortunately Mr W has left us with the funeral expenses – something that most employers would object to, but our kindness and humility knows no bounds.


For those concerned about our callous and cold-hearted behaviour, Mr W is our new washing machine, purchased only in 1992.

After 15 years, he’s carked it:dscn2730.JPG

For some time we’ve been finding deposits of gunge in the clothes, mostly this seems to be scale. It got a whole lot worse while we were away in Tasmania, during which time there was a heat wave and the house got very hot. Lack of use, drying out, and heat made the scale deposits fall off in ever-larger chunks. This reached the stage of picking out lumps of grey stuff about a centimetre square:

The spin cycle had been getting louder, the high-pitched scream could be heard hundreds of metres away, past several neighbours houses, and that was with the doors shut.

Then finally, last weekend, he wouldn’t pump out. That previous wash cycle with the de-scaling laundry powder did far more harm than good, and he was knackered.

We’ve replaced him with a nice new thingy from Mr Fisher and Mr Paykel. Normally we’d buy a locally made Simpson, but they looked so ugly that I’d prefer to poke my eyes out with a needle. So a kiwi appliance is the next best thing.

Current tally of dead appliances in the last 18 months:

- Dishwasher: CHECK
- Hot Water Service: CHECK
- Washing Machine: CHECK
- Car Air Conditioner: CHECK
- Range Hood: CHECK (but repaired)
- Clock Radio: CHECK
- Electric Shaver: CHECK (but repaired temporarily)

Tot up the value of that lot :(


Me Fisher & Mr Paykel have their Australian headquarters and a major manufacturing operation just a few clicks from our place. So Mr W’s replacement might be Aussie-made. Still not sayin’ it’ll be any good, though.

Comment by MikeFitz | February 4th, 2008 10:55 pm | Permalink

True. F&P do have a reputation for being a bit of a premium brand.

And I have to say I’m mighty unimpressed with a lot of the European rubbish thats flogged here as being top-of-the-range and supposedly very flashy neato with prices to match.

Its mostly hot air.

Local stuff is cheaper and easier to get serviced and parts for, in general.

So if the F&P is made locally, thats just fine by me!

Comment by Wally | February 4th, 2008 11:11 pm | Permalink

$3,630 ?


Comment by Duncan Margetts | February 5th, 2008 7:50 am | Permalink

Close enough to nearly win the prize.

Its a few 10’s of $ under $4K.

And I forgot to include 2 x power windows needing complete repair in the car. At over $400 each :( :(

Comment by Wally | February 5th, 2008 5:40 pm | Permalink


Check out the standby power consumption.

The F&P dishwasher that recently died here used 25watts just to make a pretty tune when it was opened..

I put a switch on it.

Comment by Paul P | February 5th, 2008 7:55 pm | Permalink
Comment by George | February 5th, 2008 9:09 pm | Permalink

These gray stones look like ambergris . Did this substance also have a sweet, earthy odor? :)

Comment by George | February 5th, 2008 9:14 pm | Permalink

The F&P washing machine has about 1/2 the power consumption of the old Simpson, and we always turn it off at the mains anyhow. I’m a bit paranoid about fires, so I turn as much off as I can – including the computer, printer, ADSL modem, TV, toaster, etc etc.

And its good for the power bill.

As for the ambergris, no – no odour at all, they are hard and rock-like. With effort it crushes into smaller fragments and dust, but no smell at all.

Comment by Wally | February 5th, 2008 10:45 pm | Permalink

It makes you realise how ‘old’ you’ve become, when once-new appliances die – I always thought that replacing things was only for people in my parents’ generation, but sadly, Love Chunks and I have been through 13 years of wedded bliss and two washing machines, a hot water service, several irons, two vacuum cleaners, three TVs, two VCRs….. It wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t the BORING stuff that needed to be repaired and replaced all of the time!

Comment by MillyMoo | February 6th, 2008 9:36 am | Permalink

Putting it like that…

we are now on washing machine #3, hot water service #2, iron #2, vacuum cleaner #3, still the original 2 TVs (though one has had about 3 or 4 repair trips), VCR #2, Computer #3.

Not to mention cars #3 (for each of us, that means the between two of use we’ve had 6 cars!!! And not extravagent cars either, mores the pity.)

Comment by Wally | February 7th, 2008 5:25 pm | Permalink

Don’t forget that this IS over a 21 year period!
(And you forgot the numerous repairs to the oven)

Comment by SWMBO | February 7th, 2008 10:07 pm | Permalink

Whats my prize?

Comment by Duncan Margetts | February 8th, 2008 9:31 am | Permalink

The clue to your problem is in your third paragraph:-years of neglect. All large appliances (and small ones too) have instruction books and usually at least 1/2 to 1 page is dedicated to maintenance of your machine.I strongly recommend that you read this page,(maybe even laminate it and stick it to the side or front of your machine? Or somewhere easily visible in your laundry). With washing machines this usually involves an occasional run through with either plain water or water and some sort of decalcifying agent (white vinegar works in kettles, maybe try it?), on a regular basis. I do my kettle with each change to and from daylight saving and my washing machine gets a water only cycle about every three months. I also use the absolute minimum of washing powder.This should help your machine last longer and keep it’s efficiency.

Comment by river | February 8th, 2008 4:30 pm | Permalink

Ah yes, thank you.

After the death, I read (too late!) the instruction book for the old machine. It actually had nothing in there about using an occasional wash-through, or a de-scaling detergent.

The new machine, on the other hand, has a lot of information in there. Like one hot wash in every 4-5, minimal detergent, etc.

Oddly, we’ve been using liquid laundry detergent in the old machine for the last 5 or more years, but the scale still seems to have built up. I would have expected a liquid detergent to make for less scale, but perhaps I’m just dreaming.

Comment by SWMBO | February 8th, 2008 5:12 pm | Permalink

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