I get to own a Bugatti . . . kettle
I would never have normally spent such a lot on just a kettle. But two things coincided. First, the lid of our old faithful kettle finally bust -- and second it was the husband's birthday. As he rather likes gadgets, I wondered what a really hi-tech kettle might look like.
No sooner had I scanned the John Lewis website than I had fallen in love with the very very top of their range, a Bugatti Vera, for not much short of £200 (yes, but it was the conjugal birthday present remember -- as well as a replacement for the old one). It looked absolutely gorgeous and really not kettle-like at all. But I think I was partly struck by the idea of having a kettle made by the makers of the car I would never afford. It didnt take long to discover that the kettle makers have nothing to do with the cars (which are now made by Volkswagen anyway); but by then I was smitten.
Even when I read the decidedly adverse on-line reviews from people who had had to send theirs back twice within the first six months, I was too much in love with the damn thing to waver. Even when the first few John Lewis outlets turned out not to have any in stock (they were being discontinued.. I wonder why), I persevered until the Oxford St branch had tracked one down at their distribution centre. And I wasn't even put off when the John Lewis lady couldnt help blurting out that it did seem quite expensive for a kettle (when John Lewis ladies do that, you know you are being a mug..).
Anyway, once I found it, it came within a day. And what did I get for my money?
Well all kinds of sophistications that I would never have thought possible for a kettle. You can choose what temperature to heat the water too (apparently some teas prefer 85 degrees rather than 100). ANd it doesnt just have a digital clock. You can programme it to boil your early morning coffee water ready for you. Why on earth you would want top do that I cannot possibly imagine, as it only takes a minute or so to boil anyway... but there you go.
And you don't just get an instruction manual (200 pages in 14 different languages), they also send along a CD to help you get started with your new machine. Yes: a CD to help you work a KETTLE, with firm warnings that Vera must only be used by adults "trained in her use". And there follow several minutes of a winsomely smiling girl demonstrating how to drive Vera, to the accompaniment of a patronisingly blokeish voice-over. Make sure your plug is earthed, he insists, "electrical products are sensitive to glitches in the electricity supply".. and in case you wonder why the lid doesn't open fully, don't worry "Bugatti has your safety at heart... we dont want any drops of water coming out and burning you . . . ' Then after being told to press the on/off switch ("just press on/off and Vera will heat up the water to the required temperature"), you're ready to go... "Vera by Bugatti -- elegance and innovation in the kitchen".
So how do I feel now? Well I still think that Vera is bloody beautiful and she boils a mean cup of water, just wonderfully; and the on'off sticker hasnt come off yet (like one of those dire online reviews threatened). But when we discover, as we soon shall, that people are losing their housing benefit in the government axe and the streets are full of the redundant, and of those who dont believe they can afford university, I think that Vera and her £185 quid's worth of sweetly flashing digital display may turn out to haunt me.