Saturday, October 07, 2006
A friend of mine has a new kettle. It's a Russell Hobbs Carousel. Actually it is a classy-looking piece of domestic machinery, like a polished silver globe, with a green plastic curved handle and a plastic bobble on the top to lift the lid.
What interested me, however, were the instructions. I mean, we all know how to use kettles don't we? At least I always thought I did. But how many people actually read the instructions before doing so?
For instance, did you know that you weren't supposed to immerse the mains lead, plug, power base or kettle in water or any other liquid? Or that you shouldn't use the kettle in the bathroom?
The instructions leaflet that came with my friend's kettle made this doubly clear. There's a silhouette picture of a bath with a shower head spurting dashes, with a circle around and a line cut across it diagonally. Underneath is a triangle with a jagged arrow like a bolt of lighting, and underneath this, again, in bold letters, the words: "Danger! Electric Shock Risk!" The message is clear: "Do Not Use In The Bath Or Under The Shower!"
Oh no! I've always wanted to boil a kettle whilst having a bath. It has always seemed entirely natural to me, halfway through my bath, with my hair lathered in shampoo, to want to boil a nearby kettle and make a cup of tea.
My life will never be the same again.
Further instructions inform you not to touch the hot surfaces, but to use the handles, not to remove the lid while the kettle is boiling, and to beware of over tilting the kettle whilst pouring. This is obviously one of the hazards of kettle application and usage, over tilting whilst pouring. I've been undertaking tilting-training to combat the danger. I can now, after several weeks of strenuous effort, tilt any kettle, with any amount of water in it, pour the water into a cup to the required level, and not spill one extra drop. I am very talented that way.
Also, did you know that water can remain hot for a long time after boiling and that it can therefore present a scald hazard?
So thank you, Russell Hobbs, for informing me of that. Who knows what might have happened otherwise? I might have been overcome by the urge to pour freshly boiled water down my trousers under the perfectly reasonable assumption that that‘s what you do with boiled water. How else can I get my underpants clean?
The instructions also inform you that you should not use the kettle for any other purpose than heating water. Once again I am deeply disappointed. What if I wanted to grow tomatoes in it? Or boil fish? Or wash my underpants and dirty socks? Are they telling me that I can't do such things?
Of course I understand that the company is merely covering itself. Accidents do occur. And what if someone does scald himself and then attempts to sue the company on the basis that he wasn't informed? Or if he attempts to return the kettle, complaining about the taste, after having boiled his socks in it? Anything is possible I suppose.
So, in the interests of safety, I feel I have to warn you of the dangers of reading this blog. Do not read while driving a motorised vehicle or when walking towards a lamppost. Do not read in the bath or when immersed in water. Do not set light to your computer whilst reading this blog as this might constitute a fire hazard. Do not attempt to shove broken up pieces of your computer up your nose, particularly when doused in superglue, as this may lead to breathing difficulties later.
You have been warned!