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Repair or Replace that Domestic Appliance

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I have recently tried to find out whether I could repair my daughter's well used six year old Bosch Maxx washing machine. Owing to the costs of calling out a Bosch engineer currently £68 plus VAT an hour a decision had to be made as to whether it would be better to buy a new machine. It is not only the cost of the call out but the fact that one or more components may need to be replaced, in which case a decision to buy another machine would be more advisable. The problem with the machine was that it worked but wouldn't drain (and complete a washing cycle)

I found that the hoses were completely blocked with sludge, and I spent a couple of hours clearing them. Unfortunately, although the machine did a few washes it stopped again with the same fault, it wouldn't drain. I thought that possibly there was still something that was blocking the drainage system somewhere and proceeded to inspect the hoses again but found very little to flush out.

I went on to the Internet and did a Google search. I posted the problem on a few DIY and Appliance help forums but didn't get any help. However I did find this website: This is an excellent website that provides advice on buying washing machines with reviews and information about discounts that different shops are providing, a consumer advice section and the all important element of free advice to repair your washing machine! The website is part of that has help and advice for tumble dryers and dishwashers as well.

There is an excellent section on dealing with a machine that is not draining and following that advice I realised that the pump needed replacing. Once I had replaced the pump, the washing machine was back to its normal working condition. Link to pump problem

I feel particularly reluctant to scrap a machine that probably has little wrong with it, so I was pleased to be able to keep my daughter's washing machine from being scraped.

Please note that the has links to suppliers of new appliances and spares that provide some income to ofset the running costs of maintaining the free service.

God Bless the Postman! God help Amtrak!

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Dear Computer Shop

Thanks for responding to my enquiry. I have followed the instructions in your email to access Amtrak's website tracking system.

I regret to say that Amtrak are unable to find this address. The local depot say that the house should be beside the roadside, but nearly every house in Freshford is not beside a road and furthermore, the majority of houses have house names. They suggest that we put up sign posts to help their drivers find the addresses! (I suppose these would need to be visible to the driver, say 3 inch high lettering all on a properly varnished sign and oak post to satisfy planning)

If the driver, cannot find my cottage on Staples Hill which is close to the GPO red phone box then he will find that there is a map showing each house on Staples Hill. Stapled to the telegraph pole beside the phone box.

If the driver has the wit to telephone me then he should realise that, if he can't get an answer, that I am not out. I may be in the bath room or in the garden, and should not give up, but should phone again, or at least leave a message with a contact number.

I would have thought that if the drivers don't have GPS navigation at least their office should be able to support them. They should have a post code tracking system e.g. Microsoft Autoroute. If they have a computer they could simply enter my post code in a Google map search.

The above is part of an email to an Internet based shop, which needed to be sent, as even though I have not been out for two days my new TV has not been delivered. Apparently the driver could not find my address. The Post Office never has this trouble even though they may use a driver who I don't know.

As we save fuel by using the Internet to buy goods the carrier that a company uses can try to ensure that customers continue to shop with them or they'll go elsewhere. When we had a post office, other than the temporary one we have at present , these drivers could at least stop and ask 'the professionals'

Just another reason to continue to seek to open a new post office-shop

Why butter really is better for you . . .

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Butter or Vegetable Oil?

We have been advised to use vegetable oil rather than butter or other animal products for cooking. since most vegetable cooking oils contain 120 Kcal and butter is only 90 kcal per tablespoon I have wondered about the logic of cooking with vegetable oil rather than butter, which arguably tastes better anyway.

I use a wok, a Le Creuset wok, for cooking on a daily basis and note that I need a tablespoon of cooking oil to ensure that my food is not burnt. On reviewing my kcal consumption I have noted that cooking oil is a significant factor in my calorie consumption. A typical meal will require 120 kcal, that's one tablespoon. when I have finished cooking there is no residue left in my wok. Whereas by using butter I have noted that I am only using the same amount  as oil for cooking and, And, there is even butter left in my wok after cooking.

It seems to me that cooking with butter is not only tastier but also provides less calories, possibly less than as listed, as some is left for the next meal. We also need fat in our diet so have we been advised correctly?

Incidently a proper wok is hemispherical and will need less oil than one that has a flat bottom. I forgot to include this link when I originally posted this article: Butter is good for you 

I have also found another link that provides information about the possible health benefits of eating what we have been told to avoid-  the number one being fat. Unhealthy or healthy food?

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