Ok, this probably won't sound like a big deal to some people but I'm pretty chuffed with it ...
Our washing machine broke earlier in the week, refusing to drain, and we were facing the typical £100+ for someone to come out and fix it. It's already broken a couple of times (I'm sure they reset some 'breakdown timer' hidden inside ).
"Damn it", I thought, "how hard can it be? I'm a computer programmer for god's sake ... Angharad - go get the tool box !"
So, I pulled it out and put it on it's side (the wrong side I now know, more on that later) and had a peek underneath.
"ooh, erm ... time to do a bit of research", I thought, so onto the internet ... (I ama strong believer that you can do *anything* as long as you can find the right book)
I couldn't find any (free) service manual for it but got a good enough description of how washers worked generally that I was able to take a few things apart and extract a small sock and a two pence piece (must've been Angharad doing some "Money Laundering" ).
In the process of doing this lots of water came out. I thought the few towels that I mopped it up with would be a good test for washing later but it was not to be that simple.
Anyway, everything seemed to fit back together again so I stood it up and switched it on.
It started draining, wohoo! ... and then stopped 2 seconds later (doh!).
"Hmmnn", I pondered, "maybe all that water that came out wasn't good for the electronic bits that it sloshed all over" (that was why you are supposed to put them on the opposite side to the buttons and stuff!)
It was kind of fixed - it would wash, dry, drain etc... but only for 2 seconds at a time and the dial just wizzed roound - I didn't even bother asking Angharad if it was meant to do that.
I took the top off to get to the electronics and mopped up a bit with paper towels, took some connectors off and blew on various bits - it was just like a PC inside really. After leaving it to dry out for a while it had improved and would wash, drain and dry the clothes. A slight drawback was that as soon as they were dry it would start washing them again and Angharad seemed to think this was inconvenient and wouldn't let me declare it "fixed" (something about "if I thought she would sit in the kitchen waiting for it to finish I could forget it").
Anyway, it works fine this morning (yay!) now that it's dried out properly.
The one downside to this story is that now I've been asked to fix the dishwasher that has been broke for several months. That'll teach me!