- "You will just have to be more careful of your smoke on a windy day."
- ―Sir Topham Hatt
Thomas Spoils the Washing is a magazine story.
It is a windy day on Thomas’ branch line as he pulls eight loaded trucks, and he has to struggle against the wind. But Thomas tells his driver that he will rather be glad to get back to the shed. Soon he comes to a steep hill which makes things even harder for him to pull his heavy train up to the top, and while his driver keeps a look out, his fireman shovels more coal into Thomas’ firebox to make him feel stronger than he has ever been.
As Thomas puffs the trucks up the hill, smoke and steam pours from his funnel into the breezy air. And at last, Thomas has puffed to the top and passes by a little cottage with a red door, with some washing hanging on a clothes line outside in the garden. As Thomas steams past, a woman runs out of the cottage and begins to wave and shouts at him because his smoke has blown on to her clean clothes.
Thomas cannot hear her due to the wind, as he thinks she is waving to him as he has done so well to get to the top of the hill, and whistles to her as he continues his journey to the next station. But little did he know that his steam had blown all over her clothes, until he sees Sir Topham Hatt waiting for him at the station when he arrives there. Thomas can see Sir Topham Hatt is cross, as he tells his engine that he had a telephone call, which was a compliant about him.
He then tells Thomas that the lady, who lives in the cottage, said smoke from his funnel went all over her nice, clean clothes and made them dirty again. Sir Topham Hatt tells Thomas to be more careful with his smoke on a windy day and walks away, leaving Thomas to feel upset as he had not meant any harm.