Broken Washing machine during lock-down

A Tribute to my Washing Machine…

My dear friend…


You have been with us for as long as I can remember. Even before Steven and I got married, you were with him in Letaba. Helping him through the stickiest of situations.


Truth be told, when I moved to Letaba with Alex to be with Steven, I was a little sceptical about your abilities. I was used to front-loaders and wasn’t too sure about you; Opening at the top, no heating element so cold wash only unless I added a few buckets of hot water.


But I have to admit, you have been with us through thick and thin over more than a decade. You washed your way through the aftermath of the “Batastrophe” and of the flooding of Stevens house in 2012. And you helped take care of many a ‘poop-splosion’ with both Alex and Jack. You ran wash after wash, day after day, the first 7 months of Jack’s life. His terrible reflux meant changing his clothes up to 10 times a day.


And then there was the steady stream of Steven’s uniform shirts and pants and all the dust, dirt, sweat and sometimes even blood that came with it. But you never complained. And you were always up for the task.


Until the week before the lockdown that is. All of a sudden there was a big flood in the kitchen. Steven’s quick diagnosis revealed that your rubber pipe that pumps the water out had perished. I tried to order the specific pipe at a few local hardware stores in Malalane. But because of the COVID crisis, no one could source the parts that had to come from China. So we entered our lock-down inside Kruger with us unable to fix you.


Fortunately, the camp manager in Berg en Dal and our section ranger gave me special permission to drive to Berg en Dal. I was allowed to use your colleagues in the Laundromat there. I would be lying if say I wasn’t a tiny bit glad those parts never arrived from China. (Please forgive me!) It meant that I could drive through a deserted Kruger National Park twice a week to go and do my washing.

I think those laundry days are some of my fondest memories of being locked down in Kruger. I truly saw the most amazing things now that the park was quiet and tourist-free. Lions still sleeping in the middle of the road at 11 in the morning, elephants taking over the roads again. So much in fact that on two occasions, my path to camp was blocked by a tree pushed over by the elephants.

Expect some trees pushed over by elephants

While I was waiting for the washing machine and dryer in the Berg en Dal laundromat to finish, I sometimes sat at on one of the benches overlooking the dam or at the fence in the camping grounds. Seeing an African Civet in camp in broad daylight and seeing wild dogs from the fence was something I will never forget.

Wild Dogs on a special Laundry Day!
Can you find him?

During level 5, 4 and 3 of lock-down, that was my routine twice a week. And a very welcome change to our routine at home. Then, when the DIY stores were allowed to sell everything again, and not just ‘essential’ goods, Steven got a plastic pipe and some wire. His ingenious plan of turning the wire around the pipe to be able to bend it at 90 degrees managed to get you up and running again. But the months of not working had taken their toll on you and you started emitting these terrible sounds in the middle of a cycle and before, during and after spinning. You even scared poor Alex half to death with your grunting and groaning. There were times where you sounded like an aeroplane taking off. Slowly, Steven and I started to realize that it was probably time to retire you.

A tribute to my washing machine
The replacement part Steven made

This weekend, that time has come my friend. I bought myself another front loader. I want to thank you for your many years of loyal service. This new washing machine will never to able to completely replace you, but we will always think of you fondly. You will forever be remembered as the washing machine that gave the people locked out of Kruger National Park a much-needed glimpse of what was going on inside. Salute!



17 thoughts on “A Tribute to my Washing Machine…

  1. A pleasant writing from you ! You make me smile ! My pleasure to read you again. A lovely tribute to those machines of our daylife … even their breakdown turn great !!! Thank you for coming back to tell us what is ‘ our ‘ Kruger like ! Not locked in Reunion island ( in France they are ! ) but those times are not the funniest of our life.
    Don’t worry be happy ? We have to say it twice to make it happened! C’est la vie ! Take care of yourselves

  2. Excellent tribute to your faithful washing machine until she was sent to pasture .
    I miss your blogs please continue with them.

  3. Salute indeed! I had the same problem – had to wait seven weeks for my washing machine to be repaired. Thoroughly enjoyed your trips to Berg n Dal!
    Be safe, take care.

  4. Love the tribute! And, well deserved , no doubt! Also, great to read your story again…have been missing them! Take care and enjoy life!

  5. Oh how we enjoyed your laundry day stories. It felt as if we were driving with you to Berg en Dal. M

  6. Lovely tribute Linda. Salute dear friend your breakdown brought some lovely stories and sunshine to Kruger-starved locked down humans. RIP

  7. We so loved your broken washing machine and the stories that you told. Somuch so that when we were in Malalane on 31th October we asked where you stayed and were told . We came to visit but no one was home and we probably chose the wrong house.
    We wanted to thank you personally for your blog that kept us sane in lockdown.
    Thank you once again Linda
    Ros and John Clark
    We had a lovely time in Kruger. So green and yet so dry. Lake Panic near Skukuza is drying so fast.

  8. Just going through the same thing with a nearly 16 year old fridge and have to buy a new one – ouch!
    Whatever is in that picture will remain unseen because the pic is so small!
    Yesterday I was just wondering what had happened to the blog so please to see you are still at it1

  9. Lovely tribute to “the old brute”, the expired washing machine, Linda. ?. Thank you for your amusing story and the update. So Glad you’re doing well.

  10. Oh great – another blog! I’ve missed them so much. Thanks for this tribute to your washing machine – it certainly did us a great favour as we had some special journeys back and forth to Berg en Dal with you – much needed bush stories to brighten a rather bleak time. Thanks Speed Queen; go well to wherever you are going!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *