Jottings on science, religion, technology, pop culture and faith from the Antipodes.


Keeping a lid on it

Today the electric kettle (jug) needed to be replaced. A trivial event, you think – simply go out an buy one. After all, all a kettle does is heat the water in it to boiling and, if you’re lucky, then turn itself off. Useful for making tea and all that.

So off I went (with fourth-born in tow) to various shops – having done the obligatory pricing research via the net. Now a kettle is a personal sort of thing. You start the day with it, you end the day with it. It tracks you through the day. Choosing a kettle is a matter of great reflection (more so if stainless steel), and so one needs to go and look at them, pick them up, pretend to be ‘mother’ with one, flick switches, check out temperature-dependent colour-change panels, and take lids off and put them on.

Ah, the lid. Many a kettle today tempted us with its sleek lines, vast capacities and filter funnels, but if you can’t get the blessed lid on and off quickly, safely and have it stay on securely then the kettle is useless to me. Filling the kettle is not some optional step (unless you only possess a kettle to look good on the kitchen bench and match the toaster and blender).

Some kettles had flimsy designer lids that will not last the distance (of all components we break lids most often); others had cool push-button, slow motion automated lid opening mechanisms (which fourth-born thought were great, and hence I relegated to the pile of kettles that might be treated unwisely as toys by children who are learning to use one); and several had lids I (with my multiple degrees) could not figure out how to open. I do not want to have to be trained to fill my kettle. Early mornings are bad enough without struggling to make the morning cuppa.

I left with high hopes of finding a new kettle to bring me to a place of heightened oneness with the universe (through the sacrament of tea) and instead left three shops a broken man and without a kettle. (Though I did pick up a new Pyrex bowl to replace the one I dropped last week).

On a whim I popped into a different store well out of our way. Serendipitously it was ‘the great kettle sale’ day there – 50% off! Bought identical kettle to the one that was retired today. No lofty heights of new kettle experiences for me – though I know how to get the lid off it with my eyes shut (so to speak – because that would be a silly thing to do, wouldn’t it?).

1 Comment

  1. Stephen Douglas

    Hi Stephen, I came across greenflame looking for info on a polytech assignment on communication – my assignment is to write a formal report on a communication issue and I ‘m thinking of a communication issue within the church and the internet search found you. I checked out this story because I liked the title you gave it and I like writing. I like the above story of your kettle shopping – perhaps the shopping tells us we like to use what we are use to. How does your kettle experience fit in with the changes of communciation tools and methods within the church. Should we seek a newer upmarket option when the old one (kettle) has past its use by date? Are you better in the morning because you are now using a ‘new’ kettle but with the same capacity as your ‘old’ one. Maybe your missing out on an improvement? Your site appears to address the tech. issues facing the church; i found reading your kettle shopping trip a reflection of a different or the real Stephen who is so up with the tech./church stuff but when it comes to the nitty gritty he’s not too sure anyway because he couldn’t upgrade his kettle and settle for ‘new’ one, but it was similar to the old one!! – cheers Stephen ps It’s great you are out there addressing the issue of church and technology

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