Emma had been putting off getting to grips with the new talking washing machine. ‘I have fifteen different programmes,’ the appliance said in what she thought of as a slightly flip male voice, even possibly camp. ‘I need to run through all these options, because you need to know how to use me efficiently. Energy doesn’t grow on trees – well actually it does, leaves, photosynthesis, etc? But anyway.’ Emma laughed. ‘We need to be efficient, so this set up will take just a little of your time, think of it as an investment. And please don’t sneak off somewhere while I’m doing this. There will be a test later.’ Emma was starting to warm to this amusing appliance. ‘Another of my jokes?’ it continued. ‘You’ll have to wait and see. Now, how many programmes are there? Just tap the number in on my touch screen here.’ Emma accidentally hit a 4, making 14. ‘Close,’ said the machine encouragingly, ‘but not quite the number we were looking for. Why don’t you try that again?’ The second time round Emma tapped in the correct digits.’ ‘Bingo,’ said the jokey voice. The screen glowed pale magenta for a moment, rewarding her for a correct answer. ‘I can see I’m dealing with someone who’s on the ball,’ the machine said. ‘This is going to be so much fun.’ Emma felt a glow of affirmation. No wonder the machine was called Mr Happy.