I’ve been feeling a different sort of gratitude these days. Not gratitude for stuff that has happened – although there’s plenty of that in me – more being grateful for things that haven’t happened, with two big ones this week. Last summer, in Ireland, in Lidl, I bought a kettle. Mad you say. Surely they sell kettles in Hungary. Even ones not made in China. And yes, they do.
But this was a particularly nice kettle, with a paisley design. And just the right colours for my kitchen, which, by the way, was going to be red and orange until the lovelies C&E bought me a green-and-ochre butter dish for Christmas and completely turned my colour-scheme on its arse. Anyway, the paisley kettle seemed to bridge both worlds. I carried it home in my hand luggage and was all delighted with myself…for about six boils. And then it broke. The doodah you press down to lift the lid … well, that kept pressing and nothing was lifting.
But I happened to be in one of the two Lidls in Keszthely that same week and I saw my kettle! With a Hungarian plug. And €5 cheaper! They only had one. I bought it and kept the receipt. A couple of days later, when himself had to run into town for yet another tool, I asked him to return the broken one and get my money back. While I was quids down, and the global Lidl brand quids up, I still had my kettle. I’ve been minding it ever since. I make sure I’m the one to fill it as I have the knack. I know how to manage the dodgy doodah. But it’s been very obstinate lately and I feel it’s on its way to a permanent breakdown. Every time I open it without breaking it, I give thanks that I’ve gotten another day out of it.
Now, in the grand scheme of things, a broken kettle won’t be the end of my world. I’m already planning its reincarnation as a flowerpot and looking out for a replacement. I’m on borrowed time, I know. But I’m taking it one boil at a time.
A far more serious matter is my crown. You might remember the MS scare I had that turned out to be an infected crown? Way back? Well, that crown came off last year – inconveniently on a Friday of a holiday weekend. For three days I didn’t move outside the gate without my denture glue, the only thing I could get to hold it in place. I have a whole new empathy for those who wear dentures. Thankfully I didn’t swallow it or lose it. Having a black spike sticking out of my top gumline where there should have been a tooth was ugly. I barely spoke. When I finally tracked down a dentist who’d see me the following Tuesday, I got it glued back in (I’m sure there’s a more technical term for it) and I didn’t have to sell the house to pay for it. Mind you, I’ve paid a lot more in travel insurance since, as now my policy has to cover dental, too.
Anyway, I’ve been minding it. But occasionally I forget. And in that forgetfulness, I feel it loosen just a little more. It’s hanging in by the grace of the tooth fairy and it has to hang in until 18 March – my next dental appointment. Between now and then, I have four pretty significant social functions, two of which involve food, frocks, and photos. Every night I go to sleep with it still in my head, I say a prayer of thanks. I’m on borrowed time with that one, too. But I’m taking it one bite at a time.
So the crux of it all this week is that I’m very much living in the now, from boil to bite. And it’s a whole new experience.