There are things I have never bought. I’m not talking yachts and diamonds, but household things like a new sofa or a multi-functional, all purpose blender. I have looked at them online and not believed one word of their wonderment. For a start, in that exciting world of sofas, which, by the way, fails to excite me at all, I puzzled over two things. One is the material and the other the exhorbitant price. In my world, a sofa could be wrecked in one short day. It could be stained with all manner of tenacious colourings and smells, be flipped on its back to become a defence against military attack, or offer a comfortable resting place for swamp creatures such as collies or children just in from the rain forest, so I never bought one, not ever, relying instead on second hand ones already ‘broken’ in.
However, the multi-functional all-purpose blender has niggled at my peripheries for a while now. I do have a small liquidiser, which can whizz up easy stuff like over-ripe strawberries and yoghurt, and an old magimix which belonged to Granny-at-the-gate and got left behind when she went northwards to heaven, but it leaks and, besides, is not multi-purpose, whatever than means. I also have a bread-maker that produces amazing works of sculpted art. I sprayed one once with enamel car spray and it lasted a whole winter of island rains before I threw it over the fence. It hit a rock and I wasn’t sure which one had shattered.
So, last week, with a helpful link to a good one from my healthy eating sister, I ordered my own copy. A few days later, when dashing out the door to feed the 15 doves who have adopted me as mummy, I fell over a box the size of a small bathroom, which had been silently delivered earlier that morning.
Can’t be. I thought. Are there half a dozen of them in there? Oh, no, of course not. it will be all packaging and poly bags warning me not to put them over my head, or that of any in-house child.
I find myself, at this point, wishing I hadn’t ordered it at all, because now I have to do something like unwrap it and assemble it and then, worst of all, whizz a few somethings into a whole new something. Then, I will have to spread it, or slap it on meat, or fish, or drink it. The very thought brings on a yawn and I go to do another job for a while.
Eventually I have to face it so I lug this huge container inside the porch and grab a sharp knife. Ok, here’s the top of the whizzer and here’s the bottom. So far, so good. Isn’t that enough, I ask myself? Well, in a word, no.
Ten bags are nestled among the moulded corrugations of cardboard, each one wrapped in polythene danger. I remove it all and lay each piece out on the counter, which I can no longer see. Even the Clown Fish in the tank dive for cover.
I begin to assemble. 30 frustrating minutes later, I still only have the top and the bottom identified. There are round things with small holes, round things with big holes, whisks, plastic discs, a small rocket, metal blades contained in immovable shells, each yelling out LOUD PROMISES of finger loss should any contact be made. I am now a bundle of nerves and have to call my healthy sister who just giggles unhelpfully.
Did you assemble yours? I shriek at her.
Nope, she says. Her husband did.
Well, I have one of those but he is at sea, so that doesn’t work.
She guides me gently onwards and the motor leaps into life, although it has nothing to do but spin around at a terrifying speed, for now.
Later I bring together not a well-thought-through list of ingredients from a tried-out recipe, but just what I have in the fridge. A bit of almost mouldy red tomato pesto; half a bag of raw spinach; one apple with the brown holes removed; one floppy carrot; a clove of garlic; 5 pitted black olives (ha! you thought I was going to sabotage it with pits didn’t you!!) and the juice of one orange.
Well it whizzed for two seconds and stopped. I poked about with a wooden spoon and it whizzed again for another two seconds and stopped. It went on offering me the same resistance, one I have only ever met before in myself, for half an hour, but I was determined to win the fight.
What I ended up with is a paste that resembles the inside of someone’s liver, but it tastes delicious. It made me think of how important it is for something to look good for us to want to eat it.
Trouble is, I have only used one tenth of the flipping thing. The rest of its working parts slumber in a dark cupboard. Just the thought of working out what they do makes me want to join the Clown Fish.