I was pouring hot water into a teapot when I noticed a small black object floating in the kettle. It was hard to work out what it was but its function soon became obvious. The kettle lid would no longer stay shut. The moment you released a restraining finger it shot up on its hinge like a jack-in-a-box.
What to do?
String noosed over kettle and lid? Possible but fiddly.
I decided on a saucepan lid, its weight sufficient to hold the kettle lid in place. It was working just fine when, just before boiling point it slid off, hit the floor, and gave the game away in a clang. Metal on ceramic makes one hell of a clang.
“What’s that?” The voice of my beloved in the other room.
Well that worked but I knew it was only a matter of time. Still, time is pretty elastic. If I could just balance the pan lid more firmly on the kettle lid…
Eventually I got it – with the help of a coffee pot and an adjacent toaster. Kettle worked like a dream and I was feeling inordinately proud.
Only time wasn’t elastic enough.
My Heath Robinson solution was discovered and what I feared came to pass.
“We need a new kettle.”
“We could use a saucepan to boil water. My friend Dick in Sweden used a saucepan for twenty years or more and he’s a genius.”
I didn’t wait for her obvious rejoinder. “We need a new kettle,” I said.
And that was how we ended up in a supermarket studying kettles - and where I discovered yet another layer of human perversity. Most of the kettles varied in price between £14 and £16 and I was scratching my head trying to work out how each one was different from the other. The boxes offered clues but few that made sense.
“That one looks nice.”
It did. It was brushed steel and it cost £30.
My Achilles heel kicked into action – a weird metaphor unless you’re a footballer. I’m a sucker for the expensive. A natural hoarder and make-do-and mend - but a sucker for quality when pushed into spending.
We examined both kettle and box, comparing it with its competitors. Thing is, it boiled water. Apart from its sleek brushed steel look it had nothing the other kettles lacked. Worse, it didn’t have that little blue light that shows you when its boiling and switches off when the boiling is done. Our last kettle had that little blue light and it gave the bubbling liquid an unearthly blue glow, which I liked.
Still. £30. It had to be better. We both agreed on it, and went to Checkout.
“That’ll be £18,” the lady said.
On a good day I’m honest. It was one of those days. “It’s £30,” I said.
“No £18.” She pointed at the barcode. “£18.” She said it again.
And therein lies the perversity. I discovered it whilst walking to the car park, holding my new kettle. Shouldn’t I have been delighted to have got a £30 kettle for £18? Thing is, I wasn’t. I wondered what a real £30 kettle would have been like.
Update: The filter in the spout has just fallen out and we can’t figure out how to re-attach it.
Further update: We've just broken the filter. The water still boils. But I miss that blue light.