My first job was in Hemel Hempstead and I rented a room. In my landlord's kitchen was a Hoover Keymatic washing machine, but he explained that everyone took their washing to the launderette up the road. So every Saturday morning I took my binbag of clothes and sat and read while it turned and spun. One day I said, "Have you noticed that big white thing in the corner of the kitchen ? Do you know if it works ?" He had, and he didn't.
I moved to Cardiff and soon bought my own house. I thought, "I can do without most things. I can do without a fridge, even, as long as I have a washing machine." Since then I've never been without a washing machine. I'd happily get rid of the car, and often imagine doing so. But not the washing machine ! I'm on my third since 1982. They last well, don't they !
Hans Rosling thinks they're important, too :