If there was one thing that I never thought my middle daughter would be frightened of it was the washing machine. Violet is hardly a nervous child and lives every moment with huge energy and excitement. She is game for anything but an incident 2 days before Christmas last year has had a huge effect on her.
Our washing machine had been steadily getting louder and louder for a couple of months. It started quite gradually but before I knew it, I was thinking twice before putting a wash on when I knew I was going to be working in the kitchen – our machine is kept in the utility room but even so, you couldn’t hear yourself think when it was on.
Because the machine was still washing clothes well enough, we didn’t do anything about it. Looking back now, we really should have looked into adding having our repair washing machine sorted to our pre-Christmas to do list.
We were going away between Christmas and New Year so wanted to keep on top of all the party clothes being washed – anyone who has had 3 young children will understand how you rely on your machine. 3 loads a day is perfectly normal for us.
I took the girls to meet some friends at a soft play area on the Friday 23rd December morning and put the machine on before we left the house. We got back around 1 and were planning on going out after lunch to do some last minute shopping. The weather was rubbish though and Baby T was exhausted so I decided to let the girls have a chill out afternoon. I put another wash load on and went upstairs to try to get T to sleep. Violet was downstairs watching tv and Millie was upstairs in her room.
Before I knew it Violet was shouting me upstairs with a really panicky look on her face – I knew straightaway something was wrong and ran downstairs. As I got to the bottom of the stairs, smoke hit me. I told Violet quickly that there’s a fire and she needed to get help from next door – Thank God our neighbour was in on a Friday afternoon.
I’ll always wonder if what I did next was right? I decided to check whether there actually was a fire in the kitchen and leave Tara in her cot upstairs (I’d also shouted at Millie to get out of the house) – I ran into the kitchen and managed to turn the washing machine off which sounded awful as if it was about to explode. The smell of burning metal and rubber was something I’ll never forget. I could barely see in the kitchen but as soon as the machine was off and all the windows and doors were open it got better. By now, my neighbour had come round as proceeded to take the machine outside – we didn’t want to take any chances about it exploding in flames. I had got Baby T as soon as I could and the girls were looked after next door but it started to occur to me that if I hadn’t got to the washing machine when I did that we would possibly have lost everything. Not ideal 2 days before Christmas!
Someone was looking after us that day – if that had happened during the washload earlier that day, then I could have got home to a burnt down house. Even more scary for me that keeps going through my mind is that I took a chance on turning the machine off whilst Tara was upstairs.
Later that night we got a brand new machine which is blissfully quiet. The Christmas food in the fridge was rather smelly and Violet is now terrified of being in the house when the washing machine is on. She even panics when the kettle boils or there is a pan steaming even when I’m stood right next to it. Perhaps all this could have been avoided if I’d only thought about repairing our rather loud but still working washing machine?