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The Independent Online
Over the past week I have been considering divorce, and naming as a co-respondent the Ariston dishwasher. The problem was, it just didn't go "on and on and on". While I was away for a week, my spouse managed to clog it - no doubt with a large piece of carbohydrate from one of the many fish suppers he consumed - then piled up the rest of the dishes in Greek plate-balancing fashion. I returned to a kitchen that bore an uncanny resemblance to that mice 'n' cockroaches kitchen-sink display in London Zoo. If he thought I was going to start washing up, after four years of dipping not so much as a finger in a washing-up bowl, he had another thing coming. No dishwasher = no washing up = no cooking. Understood?

He understood, but was going to give it one last try. Two nights, a pizza and a Waitrose finger buffet later, we had to accept that what we had in the kitchen was an ex-dishwasher that no amount of pumping and knob- twisting was going to bring back. It had spent the first six years of its life with a sitcom writer, before we inherited it; then four years dealing with our congealed cat bowls - a good innings, but time for a replacement.

After three hours of bickering in a retail park off the North Circular, the decree nisi was drawing closer. The mere thought of a retail park makes me want to weep - these are just not the sort of shops I was born to shop in: Food Giant, Booze Barn, Nevada Bob's Golf Superstore, The Most-Hideous-Draylon-And-Leatherette-Sofas-In-The-World shop. One thing Diana, Queen of Hearts, has to be thankful for is that I bet she's never had to purchase white goods from a retail park in her life. When she's feeling down, she should just think about that.

My Prince never did come, so I had to discuss the advantages of the condenser method with a spotty assistant who was really only interested in selling me an extended warranty. My spouse was in danger-mode - affected by that macho-techno fever which makes men want the biggest, the best and, of course, the most expensive. I caught him eyeing up the behind of a Miele model, which at pounds 750, he was convinced was for us. This is the man who has just spent pounds 799 on a fold-up pushbike which looks like something a six-year-old would get for Christmas, so he didn't surprise me. Eventually we compromised with a Bosch, on the basis that it could be delivered asap, so would cut down on restaurant/takeaway bills.

Delivery would be between 8.30am and 6pm. Very handy. Macho-techno-spouse had decided not to pay the pounds 5 extra to have it installed - he would do it himself. I planned, however, to pay the pounds 5 when it arrived, as judging by the amount of time it took him to disconnect the old one we'd be eating out for another week. When it did arrive, at 4pm, "no, that would be another job, love, wouldn't it? You'll need to call the office and re-book." So they refused to fit it, used my loo and sped off, leaving me in the middle of the kitchen with a bloody Bosch without the promised "decor trim". I quote the last words of spotty assistant when I asked him to make sure it had a decor trim: "Positive. I'll tell you what, if it doesn't you can have the one on me mum's at home." So, get one round here pronto, matey, or I'm coming round to Chigwell to rip it off myself.

Bosch 6032 dishwasher, pounds 469.99, from Currys; Pizza, large supreme, pounds 11.49, Pizza Hut; finger buffet items, from a selection, Waitrose.

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