Nothing much happening here at the moment. I got a new washing machine a few months ago and it's got more controls than you'd need to fly the starship Enterprise.

On the left quadrant there's twentythree programs to choose from. Then there's switches for the sub-programs. About ten of them. Then you can set the heat for different sections of each wash. Wash cycle, rinse and so on. Then there's spin speed and drying cycle. LED numbers flicker on in different panels depending on what you select. There's a clock that tells you how much time it's used and how much it has to go. Most fascinating is a vertical row of green LEDs on the right that let you know what the machine is up to if you can understand what the little symbols next to each light mean. Then there's the 'eco-friendly' and 'low energy' buttons.

The only one I'm interested in is the red LED at the bottom that tells me that machine has locked the door and there's nothing that you can do until machine has finished. And it's so quiet that the noise of my shirt buttons hitting the glass in the door is louder than the machine. You wouldn't know if it was creeping up on you so I spend a lot of time watching it.

Back in the days when I was single my washing machine was a metal box. You put washing in at the top and then used a hosepipe from the tap to put in water which you hoped might be at the right temperature. Then you turned it on until you thought it had done its job or you just got bored looking at it. Then you'd need another hospipe to pump the water back into the sink. Then you pumped in cold water and pumped it out a few times until you considered it rinsed.

The drying machine was a vertical cylindrical drum and I'd need to drag the soggy washing to one machine from the other. There was a spout at the bottom and when I turned it on it'd start spinning like mad and gushing out water that I'd need to catch in a washing up bowl. It used to dance around the kitchen with me trying to hold it in place while kicking the washing up bowl around in a vain attempt to keep it under the spout.

By then my kitchen'd be under about a quarter of an inch of water. Cat used to retire in disgust when he saw the machines coming out. He'd go off upstairs to bed for a few hours.

My mum used to do all this outside with an aluminium barrel full of hot water, a dollypeg and a mangle when I was little. Heaven knows what she would have made of the droid in my kitchen.