So we set the scene for our old dishwasher breaking down over Easter. We’d managed to resuscitate it several times, but we finally had to admit it was destined for the scrap heap. We’ve spent the last week starting to make the transition away from a dishwasher. Blimey, there are a lot of dirty plates. I’ve realised that a dishwasher is as much for storing unwashed dishes as for cleaning them. We’re still trying to negotiate the choppy territories of ‘who washes’ in a family of six. We are ill-equipped. But hang on, dishwashers are a recent luxury. As a child, it was my job was to wash and hand dry the plates for a family of eight. In Finland, apparently (see photo) they build cupboards above the sink to drain the plates.
So now I’ve sent a challenge out to Sue Fleming, who co-runs Woodworks of Lewes, a hand-made kitchen design company. Sue’s in the Transition Town Lewes business group with me. Can your company, I asked, design and make an above-sink dishwashing/drying/storage system that’s easy to use and looks elegant in our town house? I believe in frugality but not austerity.
This story sums up my reluctance as a rich white polluter to let go of modern luxuries in order to build resilience and save us all from extinction.