365 days of gratitude

October 20, 2018

If I had to choose just one of the appliances that makes my life so much easier than it was for people – usually women –  of previous generations it would be the washing machine.

Doing the laundry is no longer the long and arduous task it used to be when it had to be done by hand or in earlier machines like the one my mother had when I was a child, with a wringer.

Modern machines are automatic, do the washing in a fraction of the time and leave the clothes dry enough not to drip.

When working properly they also do their work without wetting anything else but Mine developed a leak that left a puddle after every wash.

Neither my farmer nor I could work out the source of the leak.

We called a plumber who called in, checked the machine, said it wasn’t plumbing and recommended an appliance specialist.

We called him, he called in, checked the machine and said there was nothing wrong with it.

Next time I did the washing another large puddle appeared under the machine.

I mopped it up and re-summoned the specialist who came again and again said there was nothing wrong.

Next time I did the washing an even larger puddle appeared.

I mopped it up. It was too late to call anyone but later still I was getting something from the cupboard under the sink beside the washing machine when I noticed water in a vase and bucket.

That indicated the water was coming from a higher place. I looked up and noticed water dripping on the hose that connected the tap to the washing machine.

I called the plumber again. He called again, replaced the hose and solved the problem.

Today I’m grateful my washing machine is working as it should and not washing the clothes without washing the floor.

Just wondering . .

August 23, 2018

. . . why a recipe that stipulates unsalted butter includes salt as an ingredient.

Is there something in the chemistry that makes salted butter different from unsalted butter plus salt?

What’s a key pocket?

May 3, 2017

They needed some help. I’d cooked dinner, cleaned up and promised to be back to make lunch next day.

They gave me a set of keys so I could get in should they be out when I got to their house.

I put the keys carefully in my pocket and went home for the night.

Next morning I put on my jeans, felt in the pocket and my heart sank. No keys. I patted all my pockets. No keys. I put my hand in each pocket. Still no keys.

I looked on the floor, I shook out all the bed-clothes, I took everything out of my handbag and found a set of keys for another house. I looked under the bed, I took every item of clothes out of an overnight bag beside the bed and shook them, I got down on my hands and knees with a torch and scoured the floor again.

No keys.

I went out to the car, felt down the back and sides of the driver’s seat and found some small change but no keys.

I told myself a key ring with two keys can’t disappear into thin air, put my hand into my pocket again and found only a tissue.

I looked everywhere I’d already looked again and still no keys.

I gave up, gathered the makings for lunch, drove to the house of the people I was helping and let myself in with another spare key.

The home owner arrived home soon after and I confessed to losing the keys.

“I saw you put them in your pocket last night,” he said. “Are you sure they’re not in the key pocket?”

“Key pocket?” I thought, “What’s a key pocket?”

I put my hand into my pocket and as I did my thumb slid into a wee opening on the right hand side of the main one and felt something metal – the keys.

A key pocket is a good idea, but the key to its working properly is for the wearer of the jeans to know it’s there.


366 days of gratitude

November 28, 2016

One of the Domestic Goddess’s rules of relativity states that the length of the vacuum cleaner cord will always, but always, be fractionally shorter than the length required to clean a given space.

Enter the extension cord which allows me to clean the whole living room and part of the hall without the need to unplug, find another socket and re-plug the cleaner.

For this simple solution to a domestic irritant, I’m grateful.

366 days of gratitude

January 2, 2016

A group of USA farmers on tour called on us.

They had lots of questions about farming matters and one had a domestic query.

“Do you have a clothesline?” he said.

I replied in the affirmative and asked if he had wet clothes he wanted to dry.

He said no, but wondered if I had a clothes dryer too.

Again I replied in the affirmative and he responded by saying he’d noticed dryers and lines at all the homes he’d visited and wondered why we needed both.

I said the dryer was used in wet weather or when we needed something dry in a hurry and the line was used the rest of the time.

“Why not just use the dryer?” he asked.

I said there was both economic and environmental rationale  for using the line more than the dryer.

A Presbyterian upbringing taught me not to use power when there was an alternative and the line was also the small g greener option.

But apart from that, line-dried clothes smell better.

Today I’m grateful for the scent of freshly washed, line-dried bed linen that smells of sunshine.


For stubborn lids

May 29, 2015

J Bloggs has been offering suggestions in the Friday’s answers post for tools to open jars with stubborn lids, neither of which are like the one I have.

I don’t know how to get a photo in a comment so here’s what I mean:


When you squeeze the bottom arm it allows you to adjust the size of the grip.

For someone who has everything . . .

December 24, 2013

A tubemaster from Brix.

It’s a simple idea and it works, not just to get the most out of a tube but also to save arguments about who squeezes it how.

blix 2

blix 3


blix 1

It does not, however, solve the problem of people not putting the lid back on.

That will have to wait for another clever invention.

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