Stanley is my fabulously expensive, as in 'lifetime investment', range cooker. Stanley also provides me with heating and hot water. He is the roasty, toasty focal point of my kitchen. So warm and cosy on cold winter days. In the (nearly) 3 years since I got Stanley, he has become the most popular item of furniture in the house. People gravitate towards him when they enter the kitchen, marvel at him, swoon over him and generally heap praise upon him - he's like a giant magnet. And of course I use him every day.
However, if you take a closer look at him, you will see that something is wrong. Very wrong. He ain't working. He is cold. He is unfixed. He is redundant. And, quite frankly, I'm beginning to fall out of love with him. I am in WEEK FOUR - yes, week 4 - of no cooking facilities, other than the microwave. I have had men coming in and out of my kitchen for the last month, attempting to fix him. In fact it's been longer than that - all summer really - since he first started to show signs of not being quite right. Buttons were pressed. Things re-set. New motors fitted. Twice. He still not working. He still ... dead.
So for the last month I have been through the entire Tesco range of ready meals, had fish and chips too often and paid for expensive Sunday lunches out. All the while staring at Stanley and wishing, just wishing, he was fixed. And the phone calls. To men who say they can fix him. To men who swear they will send me some spare parts by first class post and 4 days later still nothing. To the shop I bought him from. To the people who made him, in Ireland. So far, no one has managed to fix him.
And so yesterday, not knowing whether to break down and cry, or scream myself horse, I had to spend £100 on this piece of kit. It's an electric oven with 2 hobs which you simply plug into the wall. Last night we had Spag Bol and garlic bread and were grateful for every mouthful.