Yesterday I tried to wash some clothes. I put them in the drum, added the purple goo to the drawer and switched the machine on. It beeped as normal and I settled down on the sofa, tucked myself under the blanket and began to read. I was disturbed two minutes later by the washing machine beeping furiously.

An error code flashed on the screen.

I turned it all off, turned it all back on again. The same thing happened.

I found the manual and looked up the error code. Except there was no such error code.

Our landlord has a team of highly practical men who do useful things like mend boilers, put up washing lines and sort out washing machines. These men know everything; they built the house. Within about half an hour my go-to-guy was at the door with the answer to the problem. He explained that the previous day he’d popped in to check the washing machine filters and had forgotten to turn the water back on.

24 hours later as I was loading the washing machine again, I realized that the error code H2O wasn’t an error code. It’s a chemical formula.

So my advice: less panicking, more thinking.