Tuesday, May 31, 2005


Blogging in its purest sense ought to be about keeping a diary of your day to day business, which is the way most people like it, which means the internet is clogged up with mind boggling tedium along the lines of how Nathan is going out for a drink with Olly and Emily tonight, or how Kelly has got to get an essay in for tomorrow which she hasn't started yet and it is, like, 3.30 in the morning. Even the famous people who have got in on the blogging act seem to write about their daily routines in a really plodding style rather than talking about their insecurities, their cocaine problem, their plastic surgery disasters and depraved group sex. I mean, if their lives are dull and boring, what do the rest of us have to aspire to?

Still, I really ought to make an effort to keep to the blogging straight and narrow every so often, and must cut down on the references to rubbish 1970's television, my tragic poverty stricken childhood and loads of stuff which Americans who would happen upon the site (very unlikely, really) would not be able to understand because it is too parochial.

Therefore, I will tell you wot I done this weekend.

Basically, I went shopping for a kettle. What a revelation. I think I must have gone out of the loop when it comes to knowing about kettles. These days, companies that manufacture them all seem to be aspiring to some sort of design classic. The day of the humble plastic jug style of kettle is over and out. The process of boiling water is no longer straightforward.

My husband, who is more up on these things, informed me that you can now buy kettles without an element - a real boon for us, as the water in our London outback is made up of 80% limescale. The element in our last kettle was impervious to descaler and had started to resemble a chilly Norweigian tundra. Looking for a kettle without an element, however, was the least of our problems.

There are any number of designs available - short kettles, tall kettles, titanium kettles, copper kettles, clear glass kettles, big kettles, little kettles. The amount of choice is mind boggling. Of course, we chose the wrong one. We were informed by the shop assistant (a youth whose resemblance to the young Richard Attenborough in "Brighton Rock" was uncanny) that it was The Last One In Stock, although there was a similar one with an element in the Bank Holiday sale. He did all the tradional shop assistant things: going in the back for several minutes, looking at some boxes on a shelf which was inaccessible to anyone under 8 foot tall, going into the back again, asking one of the other assistants to take over at the till, then offering us the display model, then packing it in the box with the guarantee, instructions etc while a long irate queue formed behind us.

It makes one hanker for the days of the old style of hardware store, where a bald thin bloke in a manila overall with a pencil behind his ear would know exactly where all the stock was because it had been there since 1958. Still, that's just me looking backwards not forwards again, and I did vow to turn over a new leaf (for today, anyway).

Anyway, the kettle isn't too showy but it does the job despite being quite noisy. The titanium finish means it reflects the kitchen in a distorted, almost psychedelic way, and when I look into it I resemble the BBC's long-cheekboned ex-royal correspondent, Jennie Bond (hmm - another parochialism, I'm afraid).

The one problem is that it will probably need to be cleaned more often - a sloosh round with the washing up water will not do. I will no doubt end up polishing it as lovingly as some old bloke who is tending a trophy he won for a cycling race in his teens.

The only conclusion I can reach is that kettles are the household equivalent of handbags - the issue of practicality has now been put aside as people strive for the showiest design. Has Louis Vuitton started "doing" kettles yet? The time to worry is when I clean out the kettle and about a hundred shopping receipts, some ancient shredded tissues and a two year old dried up lipgloss are retrieved...

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