Fully Loaded…

Everyone’s heard of Desert Island Discs  – the Radio 4 show that quizzed a celebrity guest on a luxury piece of music they’d choose if stranded on a desert island. (Bill Gates’ was Jimi Hendrix ‘Are You Experienced?’. Freddie Flintoff’s was Elvis.). The interview format grew to encompass other luxury items and I know there have been haters, arguing how could you listen to music on an island without a power source? It’s fantasy! And here’s mine:

Music: Justin. Not Bieber. Am talking the original Justin, aka Timberlake (including his *NSYNC back catalogue.)

Chocolate: red Lindor. (Swapped in for Creme Eggs at Easter.)

Food: thai green curry, with pea aubergines

Beauty: self tan. Forgive me but I don’t tan well, sun-drenched desert island or otherwise.


My legs on holiday. Crab stick anyone…?

Electrical essential: MY DISHWASHER!!!

You can keep your washing machines, coffee machines and vacuum cleaners. There is always a friendly neighbour, a Starbucks or a Dyson handheld. Nothing beats the decadent feeling of throwing a sink-full of dirty dishes straight into the dishwasher and pressing ‘start’.

I look after all of my household appliances as if they were extra children. I know how each one ticks, hums and whirs. I respond when my dishwasher communicates to me that it needs salt or rinse aid. It gets a regular cleanse cycle and I often undo the filter to check for things like sweetcorn (sometimes), spiralised courgette (often) and sticky labels from tupperware (always).


And yes, I use the salt funnel.


My kids use it as a Shopkins chute

I love to cook and on the days that I am entertaining, I can often go through a complete cycle just of the prep-paraphernalia alone. It’s usually at this point, even with the blue light on the floor, the swishy-swirly noise and the fact he’s seen me load the machine and say, “Just putting a load on before friends get here, doll”, that husband will finish a yoghurt and open the dishwasher mid-cycle to put his spoon in. Apparently he ‘didn’t realise it was on’. Most days he will leave cutlery in the sink, or within 5cm of the dishwasher door and yet these are the times the machine isn’t on yet, the door is ajar and the spoon could go in. (I use my Pilates breathing technique here.)

I had friends over for tea recently and as I was stacking, my friend pulled me up on my cutlery-loading technique. She’s a good friend so I allowed her this critique and I listened intently as she talked me through it.


Here she is, all ready to go. With the blue light that has no function but is sooooo pretty

I think my handicap had been the fact that I had come from the ‘caddy school’ of loading with my previous model:


Fork up? Fork Down?

(Always fork up. If you can’t avoid stabbing yourself, then you shouldn’t be operating a dishwasher.)

When I moved house, I couldn’t give two hoots about planning permission, RSJs and where the main Sky box was going to be. My kitchen was my main concern and most notably, whether to opt for another caddy-style model or a new fangled cutlery tray.




(My kitchen designer truly loved me…)

The cutlery tray model won but only on the condition that I could add some anal retentiveness to the design. So upon opening the dishwasher, the cutlery tray now serendipitously meets my cutlery drawer for ease of transferring.


See? They’re almost kissing…

It gets me every time – which is in fact every morning, when I unload. Every night, I set the machine to delay start at 4:30am for 2 reasons:

  1. By the time I come down in the morning, the cycle will have finished and had enough time to cool down. (Just-dishwashered spoons are very, VERY hot and no-one likes a warm glass of apple juice.)
  2. Husband leaves for work at 5ish and finds the ‘hum and slosh’ of the dishwasher comforting when he comes downstairs (it’s the little things…)

My unload method is always the same  – new capsule in (yes. I do that) everything out and piled into groups on the worktop ready to put away. Unless you are my husband, in which case there are always anomalies that he has no idea exist in our house, nor where they live (nor what their purpose is), so they get left on the worktop for me.


A selection of leftovers from husband’s unloading. (Yes. I own a blackbird pie funnel.)

Whilst most men don’t seem interested in anything remotely domesticated except perhaps the barbecue in the Summer, lots of them are actually quite ‘into’ the dishwasher thing. I have a friend whose husband is so load-specific that she’s relinquished all dishwashing duties to him. He says, ‘load from the back first and work your way forward’.

Great idea! I tried to instil this in the family home but there was mutiny in the ranks. I think the cutlery-loading induction day had pushed them to their limits and I was duly told to ‘fork off’ or words to that effect.

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