A lot is made of the word ‘inanimate’ but I think that it is over played. If all of our domestic appliances and equipment is so inanimate how do you explain the timing of its failures? As you know I am really enjoying baking bread at the moment, I love that when I take a loaf out of the oven I can see what I need to do differently next time, every loaf is an improvement. I have a very old oven and it occurred to me a while ago that the temperature regulation may not be accurate, cue purchase of a temperature gauge for said oven.
Friday’s bake confirmed the accuracy of the oven temperature regulation as it sat at a stable 220. I turned the oven down on a perfect loaf at 15 minutes and as I turned to leave the kitchen I spotted a blue flash in the oven, probably the contactor right? Over the next 5 minutes I watched my new temperature gauge rotate anti clockwise from 220, past 180 it kept going. At 100 I gave up and finished my loaf in the combi-oven. The perfect loaf to date didn’t achieve its greatness due to oven failure. The heating element literally exploded, I accept that this could just be a random failure but it strikes me as spite. I added the temperature gauge because I didn’t trust the oven and it didn’t appreciate the challenge. Because I live in a rental nothing is ever easy and I had no luck finding an element, apparently the manufacturer’s name written all over the oven is not in fact a manufacturer. I had several phone calls along the lines of “oh they make cooker hoods” before giving up and posting the defective part at the estate agent.
Saturday was spent fitting a new sink to my kitchen, a simple job if ever there was one. The old sink was removed as shrapnel, it being a brittle old plastic affair, and then the fun started. The new sink is stainless steel and handling it is more dangerous than juggling razor blades! Within an hour my kitchen was smothered in claret, and various parts of my body were swathed in tissue, if you picture a 10-year-old gorilla deciding to shave for the first time you will not be far wrong. Of course I couldn’t wash the wounds because the water was turned off so instead I mixed blood with fetid plumbing waste. When the new sink was installed it was clear that the waste did not align, in the same way that North Korea and South Korea don’t align. One of the irritations of not being able to jump in the car and go grab some bits is that you have to think up a shopping list before grabbing a lift to the hardware store (thank you Andrew). Conveniently the plumbing was arranged in that good old metperial system bearing a passing resemblance to both metric and imperial values but matching none. Of course a large volume of Chardonnay consumed the night before meant that in my keenness I made a couple of the traditional slapstick errors:
- Carefully removing the old trap and balancing it so as not to lose any foul water before launching it into the sink that it had been removed from whereupon it poured freely through the hole
- Installing the tap, leaving it open and turning the water back on. Yes you guessed it, there was still no waste installed.
My simple job was finally completed at 7 pm, I had started at lunchtime and you’re still convinced that these devious things are inanimate? I think not. One thing that I did realise was that I am too old/crippled to crawl into kitchen units. The odd movements and transitions that this requires are compounded by my newfound lack of mobility and as a task it is leaps ahead of the physioterrorist for pushing limbs. I awoke this morning almost seized up, I had to soak my wrists in warm water before crunching them back into some form of movement and I have been in pain all day. Some may say this is old age and that one should grow old gracefully but as a man and an engineer I think not. To paraphrase “in the battle of man v Ms Nature, this battle goes to man”