Dale Lowther

Dale Lowther

“WE can’t have run out of oil already,” exclaimed John. “I’ve only just paid the bill for the last delivery.”

It was strange. The fire in the little sitting room which is an oil fired, look alike wood burning stove, ideal for lazy people like me as it just stays lit from the beginning of November till the start of May, was still burning. But the cooker kept spluttering away and going off. Very annoying in the middle of cooking a meal.

It is usually serviced annually, taking several hours for the engineer to clean all the gubbins inside and ensure it functions perfectly for the next year.

But last December, he arrived unexpectedly, claiming a mistake in his diary schedule, just as we were going out.

The oven was red hot from lunch. Usually we have turned everything off before his visit but I was surprised to find after we returned within the hour that he had already left, leaving a note, and subsequently a bill, to claim all was well.

But it has not been, and despite numerous phone calls and emails to his address he has never been back to sort it out, so I presume he is not interested. And neither are we in him, so next week a new engineer is coming and we shall once more be back in business. So it is a good job, as I explained to John, that my mania for a good kitchen gadget, has come in useful.

What a great excuse it has been to bring out from the depths of the pantry, my electric saucepan, frying pan, slow cooker, grill, pizza oven (oh yes), pancake and omelette maker. Ooh, and an egg boiler too. I think it is called conspicuous consumption.

But madness by John, and was accompanied by a threatening of withdrawal of my debit, credit and anything other that I can spend money with card, when he saw all the gadgets emerge from hiding, I am exaggerating of course. Slightly.

But all my gizmos have turned out very useful as not only have we had friends round on two evenings for supper this week, all planned before my cooker’s meltdown, but also Bryony and family rang up mid morning today to invite themselves round for lunch.

I have coped, or rather my gadgets have coped, although I say it myself, because no-one else will, magnificently. Even John had to admit that maybe my extravagances had served us well. After all the alternative could have been some expensive meals out or takeaways, which he would have hated.

And it has been a busy week too with sheep and poultry. I have been persuading a broody hen that yes, she did want to sit some goose eggs, even though she flinched away from settling down on them at first.

John has been sorting out the lambs and moving our sheep onto fresh grazing. I have even started to do some gardening now the warmer weather tempting me outside. What a good job there was always a hot meal to come into.