Sweden. Day 17. The tragedy of the washing machine.

In my first attempt to use the washing machine here at the house — the only washing machine for miles, unless we ask a neighbour to wash our clothes, or go to the launderette in Norrtälje which is 48 km away, unless there is something at Älmsta which is slightly nearer at 30 km — I seem not to have properly closed the metal flap doors of the spinning drum. (It’s an old BOSCH WOL 2050, a top-loader machine that is not certainly the latest model.)

Although it completed the cycle, once I opened the deck, I realized it was not possible to remove the clothes or even spin the drum back to its original position. It was completely stuck. After finding a video on Youtube on how to fix it, I decided to fix it myself. The video makes it seem very easy, and it lasts under two minutes, but I spent the whole morning and part of the afternoon trying to follow its instructions. I finally managed to open the machine and do as instructed, and in normal circumstances, this would have solved the problem.

However, the “idiot” who used the machine had not just improperly closed the metal flap doors of the drum, he seems to have let them completely open, with the result that the drum started spinning with its top open and the metal got bent or stuck in the mechanism somehow. It was just impossible to spin it in any direction.

Bottom line: there was no way to fix it easily, bringing a technician over from Stockholm would cost more than buying a newer and better machine, so now the problem was just how to remove my clothes from inside it. But by this time Robert had arrived. Robert is one of the directors of BKN and all-purpose man around here — he fixes radiators, put traps for mice, arranges furniture, and in his spare time he also organizes a local theatre group and is a very talented theatre actor and director.

So Robert basically used an electric saw to cut open the metal drum of the machine, and we removed the clothes; later I helped him to bring the machine down the stairs (it was really heavy) and take it outside to be thrown in the junkyard.

Then he said: “Should we now discuss about Ibsen and Strindberg?”

And that’s what we did, for the next hour, over cookies and tea. Robert is a very knowledgeable man in his 60s who knows much more about Strindberg and Ibsen than I can ever hope to know, so now I am afraid of writing a very silly script, a drama that will make people laugh, or a comedy that will make people cry.

Conclusion: now no one can wash their clothes at the house until they bring a new washing machine, I am starting to suffer from writer’s block, and I didn’t even have time for my daily walk today.

But it was a very nice conversation, and by the end of the afternoon I had learned a lot about Ibsen, Strindberg, the theatre world in Sweden, and of course about the internal mechanism of washing machines, so the day wasn’t completely wasted after all.