Washing Up – the pain and the pleasure.

I hate washing up! Well, I thought I did. The dishwasher died at the weekend and I have spent longer here at the kitchen sink that I thought I would ever enjoy. So it was back to the marigold gloves and those joyful bubbles that supposedly make your hands as soft as your face but in my case bring me out in a rash.

So I cursed more than a bit, blaming over-elaborate cuisine for the inconvenience. After-all, why ever eat broccoli when you know it needs draining in a colander and then its seeds linger deliberately and annoyingly in the drain holes? Why have rice too? It is easier to clear up blood after murdering someone with a chainsaw.

My annoyance carried on  – I blamed every inanimate object that came within range of my washing-up brush and especially blamed the dishwasher for packing in after ten years loyal service.

The dishwasher however, just sat there immobile with not a murmur of helpful advice. A venerable machine installed by a previous owner of the house who was apparently a local rock star but I won’t embarrass him by naming him. I assume that he loaded the machine with unspeakable and almost certainly illegal substances.  It was then briefly owned by the next householder a family of Irish macrobiotic scientists before I took over with my less demanding tastes.

The replacement should arrive next week and I began to despair at the hours that I would waste at my kitchen sink. It was not long however before I remembered the joys that can accompany this mindless job. Of course, I remember now the last time I had a dishwasher death in the house – it was about 15 years ago and it was when I discovered that I really did like all the symphonies of Ralph Vaughan Williams. Yes, listening to music is the perfect accompaniment to soapy chores.

To see me through this traumatic time, I have chosen four very different CDs:

Firstly, the gloriously infectious South American Baroque music as recorded by the thrillingly rhythmic playing of Jordi Savall and his group Hesperion XXI – I could never be bad-tempered when this is on my music system:


Then, if I am in a more solemn mood, I turn to the luscious and possibly tasteless Wagnerian transcriptions by that most show-biz of conductors, the late Leopold Stokowsky. One of my very first vinyl LPs was a recording of his arrangement of music from Wagner’s Die Walkure and Parsifal so hearing it again decades later transports me back to childhood’s enthusiasms and nobler pursuits than washing-up:

Then, to up the emotion a bit, I play one of my recent obsessions, John Grant’s provocative album Queen of Denmark and linger over his moody but sufficiently ironic ballad Where Dreams Go To Die:

Finally, and to show just how up to the moment I can be, I am playing an album newly released this week by my friends, Foxes! who can easily distract me from my labours with their lively but subtle indie-rock album Foxes! Foxes!:

You know, I might even decide occasionally,  to give the new dishwasher some time off for good behaviour.

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