Monday, 8 February 2010

It'll all come out in the wash...

It's just before 9.00am and the kitchen is currently full of Russian workmen, replacing our new - and broken - washing machine with an old - unbroken - one. Lots of instructions are being bandied backwards and forwards, one of the guys has his head under the kitchen sink and is making a muffled commentary from there, and every now and then there is a worrying silence, punctuated only by the wheezing sighs of habitual smokers. As I type, the dishwasher has been pulled out (please god, no! Don't take the dishwasher!) and the tumble dryer is being balanced precariously on top of it.

Frankly it's the sort of thing which, if I owned any of the appliances they are currently messing about with would give me kittens, but since I don't, I'm just enjoying the show.

The thing is, in my non-Russian speaking bubble, right now I have no idea what's going on. For all I know, the conversation could be as follows:

Young Mild-Mannered Foreman: "Come on guys. I know it's early but we need to get this sorted out."

Workman #1: "That's easy for you to say. You haven't got at dishwasher balancing on your head. What did the stupid cow do to break the washing machine anyway?"

Workman #2: "God knows. These westerners and their crazy wash-every-day ideas. Every one knows you don't need clean clothes every day. No wonder the damn thing's broken "

Silence, broken only by panting and puffing...

Workman #3 (head under the sink): "Would it be out of the question to light up a quick fag, do you think?"

Workman #4: "Better not. You know how arsy they get about that type of thing. Not a decent ashtray in the place as far as I can see. Somebody pass me the monkey wrench?"

Workman #2 "What am I, your servant? Get it yourself, Comrade!"

Workman 4: "Comrade? That's behind us now. I don't need to answer to you, commissar."

Mild-Mannered Foreman: "Hey! Hey! Stop with the political discussions and eyeing up the chocolate biscuits and pass him the monkey wrench for pete's sake. We're all new Russians now. Right. One, two, three, lift..."

Workman #1: "Watch out for the laminate flooring! It's brand new! We didn't take up the perfectly decent parquet for you to scratch Ikea's finest laminate that we replaced it with."

Silence and more wheezing...

Workman 3: "OK. One previously perfect Samsung out - one slightly ropy Ariston alternative in. Give it a wipe down with your handkerchief, comrade, and let's be off."

Workman 2: "Let's see how long it takes the Western Imperialists idiots to break this one with their compulsive washing habits... We do know she doesn't understand us, I take it?"

Obviously I don't think for a moment that this is what they are saying. But I do have my first Russian lesson this morning. And thank god for that. Then I can stop all this ridiculous imagining...


  1. Oh please don't do away with the ridiculous imaginings - they'r priceless!

  2. At least you get workmen. Our landlord quite fancies himself as a DIYer and does the lot himself. The only time he has ever had any help was when the hot water tank fell off the wall in the bathroom and then his mate came in to help him hold it up.

    I did laugh at this though, especially the bit about smoking...

  3. OMG, yes, the smoking!

    Recall my one (and only) trip to Moscow for business a few years back where the company I was advising had a 'volunteer smoking group' that met twice a week first thing in the morning to 'test' new tobacco samples.

    No kidding.

    And of course the only room they could use - there being so many of them - was the boardroom which we then proceeded to occupy.

    Tell you what, London fog wasn't a touch on the cloud density left behind. Never mind the smell. Yuck.

    LCM x

    p.s. v funny post btw

  4. Brilliant! And I'd say your translation is pretty spot on...

  5. So, your Russian is obviously coming along in leaps and bounds PM. I would think that translation is quite accurate ;-)

    Good thing the washing machine wasn't subjected to the potty training wash loads!

  6. Ridiculous imaginings and half-understood Russian is a must! It means that as your Russian improves, you will think you have followed a conversation perfectly, then get really furious when the other person asks what bra size you wear. I've done that loads of times, it all adds to the fun. And maybe they really are asking your bra size in which case you must get really furious!

    Going off topic, can you get fur-lined bras in RRrrrussia? That would give warmth and add volume; a double boost. You could probably sell them thru your blog. I'll have a double G one in pink lace. (now you've had to readjust your mental image of me haven't you? Double G!!)

  7. You need to make a movie of your imaginings! If you come by my site later, just click the link on my new movie. It's too much fun not to! Not to mention the hours you can waste getting the action "just right!"

  8. Your imaginings had me rolling. I think I am going to take a lesson from your imaginary Russian workmen and stop washing so much. They are right. We don't need clean clothes EVERY day, right? Maybe that would help with the 20 loads of laundry that are constantly stacked in my back bedroom....hmmmmm....

  9. Pig must have an intriguing past. She's been asked her bra size in Russian "loads of times".

    I think they were saying

    "she's no idea what we're saying, so let's run through every Russian obscenity we know - but keeping straight faces and making it look like we're talking about the job in hand".

  10. Tee hee. I love your imaginings. (American workmen on the other hand are relentlessly positive - always telling you it's all fine and working great, even if they haven't fixed it at all.....)

    And I know what you mean about not owning the appliances - it was always so stressful when they broke at home, but here I know that in the end it's not really my problem....

  11. I can never understand the workmen that end up here despite the fact that I negotiated with an English-speaking person who seemed clear about what I wanted at the time. When his "team" arrives I usually have to go through the whole performance again - except with hand signals and semaphore.

  12. So - are you washing now - and singing to yourself in Russian?

  13. No, you were probably at least half right... bearing in mind how rude workmen can be in front of clients when they speak the same language. At least, however, they actually did the job - hooray!

  14. Mud - yr wish is my command (see today's post...)

    Brit, well I think they're qualified. But who knows, really?

    LCM, ah yes,those were the days. Must say that it is weird though, being in a city where smoking is allowed in bars and restaurants; it's surprising how quickly I got used to that not being the case in London.

    WM, thanks - although I do hope you're wrong.

    Sharon, a very good thing indeed!

    Pig, it's not so much the Double G, but - pink? Really? WITH fur? I mean, lilac, perhaps, or chartreuse, but pink?

    Mwa, I will get onto it just as soon as my computer stops making a very peculiar noise...

    OM, thanks for visiting and commenting - and the one thing about Moscow is that it's so dry here the washng does dry very quickly. So no excuse for me to have it hanging around, sadly.

    Iota, I'm sure you're absolutely spot on. But sadly, I will never know... My Russian teacher hasn't taught me any obscenities yet, you see...

    NVG, exactly. It's quite liberating, isn't it?

    EPM, but it is amazing how far you can get with that, isn't it?

    FK, how did you know?

    Sparx, hooray indeed - clean pants all round! Rock and roll, baby!

  15. God, you're right, what was I thinking?! Pink? I'm so '80's. Make mine a chartreuse...


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