11 years ago when I moved to France with my English girlfriend and her two children, I weighed a sprightly 12 stone , having just finished 23 years as a soldier.
In the three years we lived together in our new home she ensured my weight stayed roughly the same by ensuring that when I came home from three months away working, there was no money left to buy food, so during my four weeks off I had to work making cheeses or stacking shelves or various other jobs to have money for my dinners.
When she finally left and emptied the house I had no money as I had to completely refurnish the place, so for at least another year my weight stayed the same.
I bought pretty much everything second hand, washing machine included and all was going well.
After a few years of happy singledom, a new laydee moved in. She bought with her a large wine collection, which was welcomed, her two daughters, (maybe not quite so much) a big dog, a couple of cats and a great sense of fun. It was just around this time that the secondhand washing machine I’d bought gave up the ghost. With three more bodies in the house I needed another washing machine quick, but luckily, she came with one of those too.
She is a fantastic cook, truly inspirational, can rustle up something exquisite from what to me seems to be an empty fridge. She introduced me to her friends, who all love eating and drinking. Especially drinking.
In the time that she’s been here I’ve mentioned more than once that her washing machine was playing up. I had noticed that slowly but surely my clothes appeared to be getting washed in too hot a wash and were becoming tighter. Money was limited, so there was little chance of a new machine in the short term but after speaking to the laydee of the house she also said she’d noticed the same thing, so we decided that something would have to be done as soon as possible. I lowered the temperature we washed our clothes at, still nothing changed, they just seemed to be getting tighter. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, but they were definitely getting less roomy.
The final straw came when I tried to put on my favourite shorts and they wouldn’t do up. “What on earth?” I shouted in rage, “that washing machine has got to go.”
I walked into the kitchen to explain that we needed to change the washing machine and picked up the ringing phone at the same time. Was a friend of mine from Englandshire, an old friend from my army days, asking if I fancied a ride up a mahoosive mountain in France on a push bike. I didn’t even own one at the time but agreed to it.
I left the house that very moment, angry at the non fitting of my favourite shorts and arranged payment and collection of a new velocipede, a Ribble Gran Fondo, one of these new fangled carbon thingys. All very exciting, it arrived a few days later and I set to training with gay abandon.
And then, the funniest thing happened.
Somehow, the appearance of my new shiny two wheeled steed seemed to at first calm and then positively encourage the washing machine. There would appear to be some form of symbiotic relationship between the two inanimate objects. I’m not sure what the bike gains from it, but the automated clothes washer has certainly felt the love and is apparently working at a slightly lower temperature, with the side effect being that my clothes started to fit me a little better.
I found that the more I pedalled, the more the washing machine seemed to like it and washed my clothes on a cooler wash. For the first time in many a year I had room, I even needed a belt. What sorcery is this?
I put on a pair of shorts yesterday that I’d not been able to wear for over two years they’d been washed so hot. And yet, even without going through the washer, they fitted.
A truly curious thing that I can’t explain, but it must surely be somehow aligned to the two objects.