I’ve just sat down to enjoy my coffee before the builder arrives and the peace and quiet is transformed into a cacophony of drilling, hammering and French expletives. The iPod shuffles and the 1970’s pop-classic, Living in a Dream by Dee D. Jackson starts to play as I hear the builder’s jeep roaring up the lane. I put some more coffee into the machine, he’ll no doubt be ready for a hit of the black stuff. This reminds me that I must do some research for an article about Italians and their love of coffee, that an editor has requested from me. Rock music spills from his jeep as he opens the door and kills the ignition; the fly screen opens and before he can say good morning, he’s ranting about a washing machine. I ask him to calm down and try to understand what’s upset him. “Has your washing machine at home broken?” I ask. My question receives a puzzled look and he shakes his head. “Ours isn’t installed yet,” I explain, “if you wanted to use it,.” More head shaking, followed by, “You’re crazy. Of course I can’t use yours, I haven’t installed the electrics for it yet.” I ask him to explain the problem and he just turns and storms off up the drive to the lane, turning once to call my name. I join him and discover that someone has dumped an old washing machine in the lane. (This discovery is accompanied by French expletives.)
“Why do people do this?” he rants, “there are places they can take these things to, instead of dumping them in the countryside. Pah, Italia.” I explain that this happens in England too, Italy isn’t the only country where people too idle to properly dispose of household appliances dump them in the country. He looks at me and screwing his eyes up says, “No?” I tell him that yes it happens in England; Once more adding reality, to his imagined perfection of England. (You should have seen his face when I mentioned its binge drinking problems.)
The comune provide places where people can take large items to, and in reality the person who secretly left it here in the cover of darkness, probably drove further to dump it here than they would if they had taken it to the official tip. It wouldn’t surprise me if the culprit hadn’t scoped out the area previously. I recall seeing a car on two occasions that isn’t local, maybe the driver is the washing machine fairy and this is a special little trinket from a fantastical realm?
We make our way back and as he’s sipping his coffee the iPod shuffles and the strumming, guitar opening of Welcome Tomorrow by Love and Rockets starts to play. The builder puts down his cup, wrinkles his nose and says, “Musica inglese, pah!” before walking downstairs to carry on with the bathroom tiling.
Three days later a passing Romanian looking for scrap metal stopped in the lane and with the help of his heavily pregnant wife hitched the washing machine onto his truck and drove away with it. I just hope anyone passing doesn’t think it’s a pick-up point for scrap, imagine the builders mood if he arrives to find in its place a couple of televisions and a fridge freezer.