Don’t judge me, Paul

Recently, I started to feel a bit perkier after what felt like the longest cold in history, and I started to tackle a few simple tasks on my to-do list, the first one being calling a repairman to fix my broken tumble dryer.

“What’s the problem, Vicki?” 

“It’s going round but there’s no hot air, Paul”

“Have you been cleaning the bottom filter regularly?”


And there it was:


“Sounds like you’ve blown the thermostat because your filter’s clogged. I’ll come out and have a look…”

I was kicking myself. There are two filters to clean on my tumble dryer - one at the top which is always in eyesight, and it’s nice and easy to scoop out the accumulated fluff. But the other is in a locked drawer at the bottom of the machine and it’s more of a cow to clean.

I have to frick about pouring water through it and use little brushes to release the sticky, damp fibres. I invariably end up with sleeves soaked up to my armpits and wet, black lint-goo flicked into my squinty eyes and grimacing mouth. 

It’s not glamorous, and although I diligently did it when the machine was new, I’ve repressed all cognition of that awkward filter, and it’s been quietly collecting fluff-gunk for months. 

When I released it from the machine and put it in the sink, the full force of my sinfulness hit me. 

It was absolutely caked in shite. 

As I set about cleaning it, I felt like the filthiest woman in my neighbourhood, and not in a good way. 

Huge, dark clots of yesterday’s sock-fibres and T-Shirt particles slithered away from the white plastic filter, and clung to the sides of my sink like raw liver. 

Spurred on by a heady cocktail of shame and cleaning-fever, I went on to transform every inch of the neglected dryer until it stood in the middle of my utility room sparkling inside and out, ready for the imminent arrival of Paul and the new thermostat.

Yes, Paul, I’m practically perfect in every other way - it was just the pesky little filter that caught me out. Behold, my gleaming Hotpoint that reflects my impeccable standards in life as a whole. 

And, yes, my utility-room floor always shines like this, as do my taps and downstairs loo which I absolutely didn’t give a last-minute, hurried sparkle in case you needed to pee!

After his inspection, he broke the sad news to me, “It’s not the thermostat after all. I won’t bother mending it because the part you need’s stupidly expensive - best get a new dryer…”

A mix of emotions washed over me. Was it possible I could let myself off the hook as it might not have been my fault after all? 

Of course not. Even if it was an unrelated fault, the poor machine was undoubtedly suffocating in wet fluff and it would have died sooner or later because of my actions. 

I was a disgusting, neglectful tumble dryer mother. 

However, as with all challenges, I was tasked with finding options of ways to do things differently in the future. 

  • I could continue in my old ways and buy what would amount to a series of single-use tumble dryers. Not very eco-friendly.

  • I could employ a tumble dryer butler. Pricey, and they’d spend almost all of their working day twiddling their thumbs, but almost guaranteed to be effective.

  • I could change my ways and set reminders for myself to clean the filter regularly in future. Cost effective and doable. 

  • I could see if there’s an easier, cost-effective option that won’t cost the planet. 

I quite liked the look of the last option, so I did some research and found a wonderful thing called a heat pump tumble dryer with an A+++ energy rating that pretty much looks after itself by puffing air through its own filters at the end of every cycle.


It’s not completely too good to be true, because the upfront cost is more expensive than a bog standard dryer, but with energy prices as they are it won’t take long to pay for itself.  

I’m sure your pleased for me that I’ve wrestled a laundry-based win from the jaws of defeat, but the main coaching point I want you to take away today is that I wasted a good hour yesterday of my precious time and energy cleaning what was effectively a tumble-dryer corpse and its immediate vicinity, because I was ashamed of myself and I didn’t want to be judged by Paul. 

The stupid thing is, I’m sure Paul has seen much filthier appliances than mine in his time!

We can all be guilty of judging ourselves too harshly and spending precious mental and physical energy soothing our egos with illogical actions. 

If you ever find yourself spurred into action though feelings of shame, then it’s time to take yourself to one side and have a little word. 

You’re a good person. Everything else is just wet fluff. 

The author 

Vicki LaBouchardiere