It’s almost impossible to say where the proverb, ‘things come in threes’ originates from. Some people attribute it the coming of the three wise men, the kings that visited Jesus, some say it’s a superstition that’s been allowed to develop and become a part of the human condition. Throughout history misfortune is always said to come three times, be it death, destruction or illness. In medieval England if a servant broke something, the master of the house would order two similar pieces of no great value also be broken, this was done to break the rule of three and then gave birth to the phrase, ‘third time lucky’. Comedians apply the rule of three to make a joke funnier, to labour it and use four or five tags per gag never works, but three assures hilarity, through the rule of three a natural progression creates tension which builds up to a final release. Writers also use the rule of three principle, this suggests that groups of three make more interesting reading, for example, The Three Little Pigs, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and of course my favourite story as a child, The Three Billy Goats Gruff.
There’s a Latin phrase, ‘omne trium perfectum’ which means, everything that comes in threes is perfect. Sadly this cannot be said for the three stages of appliance annoyance in our house this week.
ONE. Monday evening, I was ready to start preparing dinner, potatoes were peeled and dropped into the halogen cooker: our makeshift oven during restoration. This table-top appliance has been worth its cost of €29,00 as it makes great roast veg and saves time when cooking meat and fish. Tonight I turn it on and nothing happens, I waggle to dodgy electrics we have rigged up in the kitchen and still nothing happens. It would appear the thing has died and gone to the appliance graveyard in the sky. Yesterday it worked perfectly fine, not a single hint of any trouble or potential demise.
TWO. Tuesday morning arrives and I’m making a drink as the iPod shuffles as usual, the first song of the day is The Last One in the World, by Blondie. I drop a sweetener tablet into a cup already holding a teaspoon of instant coffee when the kettle gurgles and dies. Again more electrical cable waggling takes place, the plugs are checked, they seem okay, the extension is looked at, it’s fine too but the kettle is no more, our second appliance fatality within 24 hours.
The afternoon is spent shopping for a washing machine, which we find at a good price at the Auchan supermarket near the airport, we then drop into Ikea to get a shower rail and bathroom light. We decide to have lunch here and I’m intrigued by their special tray trolleys in the restaurant. They’re a clever idea, no carrying trays laden with things liable to tip over, just load three onto the wheeled contraption and wheel away.
We arrive home and the new washing machine is plumbed in and ready to go, we fill it and give it a test run, we leave it and spend a couple of hours sat outside with friends. When we return to the washer it’s in a completely different place, it’s walked a good two feet across the room, pulling out the waste pipe and flooding the bathroom. Luckily as it’s a wet room no real inconvenience has occurred.
Three. Wednesday morning arrives and to counteract the wandering washing machine I purchase a rubber mat for it to sit upon, we decide to test the theory I have, that the rubber will keep the white vibrating box in its place and nothing happens. We test the newly installed electrics and no problem is there. I turn the washer around and it appears the vibrations of the spin cycle has undone some of the screws in the back, particularly those supporting the drum. Screws are tightened and we try the machine again, this time it fills with water then nothing happens. Our builder takes the front panel off and discovers that the belt that drives the drum has come off. More screws are undone and after the belt is refitted they’re re-fastened. I switch the machine back on again and it works, my smalls are dancing around as they tumble in a scented foam.
“They say things come in threes.” The OH says, I just shake my head and walk away as Love and Rockets shuffle forward with, Ying and Yang (the Flowerpot Man). Time for a cuppa, but hang on, we have no kettle.