Never Buy Major Appliances When Mercury Is Retrograde

My old Simpron Rivera machineI have this washing machine (see, it’s right over there —>). I bought it not long after I moved out of home, so I was probably in my late teens or early twenties at the time.

This washing machine has worked faithfully for the last 25 years or so. Right up until about a month ago when I noticed a small amount of water on the floor whenever I did a load of washing.

Being the sensible type, I ignored it.

I ignored it that is, until about a fortnight ago when that little bit of water became a deluge.

Thinking that I should maybe do something about it, I pulled the machine out from the wall and checked the hoses. They all seemed fine but there were a lot of black plastic pieces on the floor underneath the machine, which led me to decide that my faithful machine had gone to the great laundry room in the sky.

It was time for me to buy a replacement.

Later in the week, I gleefully trotted off to buy a new washing machine at the EOFY sales.  After dragging a poor salesman back and forward between the top loaders & front loaders for half an hour or so, I finally settled on a lovely looking Hisense 7.5kg front loader.  Best of all, they would deliver AND install it on Sunday! I was in shopping heaven.

The next day my machine arrives and is installed and it looks so sparkly and new that I’m really looking forward to doing the washing on Monday morning.


Bright and early Monday morning I rush out with a load of sheets, load the machine, throw in some powder and press START.

Nothing happens!

So I get out the instructions, check that everything is working and…. still nothing.

I check the troubleshooting section of the manual which tells me to make sure the powerpoint works – check! Then make sure the transport bolts were all removed – check!

😦 Still no power to my machine. Finally, I ring Hisense to get a warranty call.

The phone rings for a long time and someone comes on saying “operators are all busy, can we take your number and call you back?”  Now that’s great customer service I thought to myself and left my number expecting a call back in the foreseeable future.

About 4 hours later, I decide to try them again as I’d had no return call. After taking all my details, they said that their local contractor would contact me in 2-3 days!  Well, that didn’t impress me, but I really couldn’t see the point in chucking a tanty about it.

THREE business days later, I get a text message advising that my claim had been approved for a replacement. Which quite frankly, seemed to me to be the sort of thing that should have happened on the day of the claim, not 3 days later.

Obviously, it was tanty time…

I rang Hisense and they advised that they were really sorry, but mid-next week I should get a replacement. Being unusually assertive for me, I advised that I really appreciated their sorriness, but it was totally unacceptable as I’d spent my money nearly a week ago and still didn’t have the goods that I’d paid for.  So they decided I could get a store replacement.

My new Hisense machineNow, it was time to ring Good Guys and organise the replacement. By this stage I was fairly cynical that it was all going to work, but I was MAAAAAAD and I wasn’t going to back down.  Fortunately, Good Guys were awesome and after a quick confirming call to Hisense, they promised to deliver a replacement the next day.

So yesterday (Friday) nearly a week after purchasing my brand new machine, a replacement was delivered.  It was a bit late for me to wash then, but I was eagerly anticipating doing a couple of loads on the weekend.

Saturday morning arrives and after dragging myself from the comfort of my bed, I go out and put a load of washing on with no problems.  About 45 minutes later, I wandered outside to see how it was doing only to find the laundry floor awash with soapy water!

Turns out, the pipe that the washing machine emptying tube goes into must have a crack or something. I’ve successfully solved my original water on the floor problem by moving the outlet hose into the laundry tub.

Sooooo if you know anyone who wants a Simpson Riviera washing machine that looks it’s age, but apparently works well (except I broke off one of the feet moving it) – just let me know….

Fortunately, Mercury went direct again on 2nd July.  I’ll be thinking very carefully about any changes I need to make in October though.

Test driving Tim Tam Brownies Recipe

Step 1. Gather the ingredients

Brownie Mix
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup water
1 egg
1 pack Tim Tams

Step 2. Combine all ingredients (except Tim Tams)

Oops! ‘Scuse fingers. No shell please

 Step 3. Spread a layer of brownie goo in a pan

Hmm…. maybe I should have used 2 packs of brownie mix

 Step 4.  Mmmmm Tim Tams

Wishing I’d bought 2 packs of Tim Tams. 1 and a bit for brownie testing, some for eating

 Step 5. Cover with more brownie goo

It becomes rapidly apparent I needed more brownie goo, and there was going to be precious little left in the bowl for me to lick

 Step 6. Cook for 30 minutes at 190C

 Step 7. Lick the bowl


 Step 8. It’s done when a skewer comes out clean, then cool in the pan for 15 minutes

Ouch! I burned my mowf on the skewer

 Step 9. Remember that you should have used baking paper to line the tin

Dammit! Wonder if I can stick it back together with the fudge?

 Step 10.  Try drowning it in faux cream to see if that helps

The good news is…. because it’s faux cream, logic declares it’s full of faux calories

VERDICT: Tim Tam brownies are not as nice as they sound.  Apart from all the cooking problems that may have been related to my lack of skills – the chocolate melts, but the biscuits stay hard.  In fact the biscuits get harder.  Maybe if you crushed the biscuits up, or soaked them in something for an hour or two first… but I think you’d be better off making brownies AND having Tim Tams.

Rainbow Cake in a Jar

A couple of months ago I decided to make rainbow cake in a jar from this recipe:

As you will notice, the recipe is both straightforward and easy to follow.

In my defense however, it is done using imperial measurement units rather than the more civilized metric units used in Australia.


So I had to improvise a little 


Which, in hindsight, is probably where the wheels fell off.  Oops

  • Firstly, I decided to use a white mud cake mix instead of a normal cake mix.  Because I like chocolate
  • Secondly, I chose to guess at what a pint was – and settled on “about the size of a chicken tonight jar”.  Because that’s what I had in the cupboard
  • Lastly, when the recipe said “lightly grease the inside of the jar” – I took that to mean “empty half a can of spray oil into the jar and swish it around a bit”.  Because apparently I’m stupid


The lessons I learned from all of this were

1. A pint is a lot smaller than I thought it was

What a pint is:

A Cup






What I thought a pint was:

A CupA Cup

A CupA Cup

A CupA Cup


2. Use something a little runnier than mud cake mix

3. Use a wide necked jar or smaller spoons

4. Food colouring stains stuff and you really don’t need as much as you think you will

5. Greasing the jars does not mean half filling the jar with oil

6. When the cake isn’t cooked after the suggested 30 mins – put it back for a little bit longer, not another 30 mins.

7. Wiping down the inside of the jars would almost certainly  have been a lot easier BEFORE the cake and spray had been baked into them for an hour.


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