First it was the iron. After many years of service, there was a sudden flash and a bang – and the power in my house died. I had to buy a new one.
Shortly thereafter, it was the microwave. The milk for my coffee remained cold, no matter how many times that microwave plate rotated. Once again, I had to buy a new appliance – but just a cheapie because in my kitchen the microwave is hidden away (I think it is by far the ugliest item in an open-plan space). Early one Saturday morning, I found myself in the suburbs because there was a sale on at some store – I can’t even remember its name. But I saved R100!
Then the major appliances started packing up. First the dishwasher tripped the electricity, then a red light started flickering in the panel above the fridge-freezer door with my Calvinia lamb thawing inside.
The technicians traipsed in and out. I had to leave piles of cash on the kitchen counter because, of course, everything was COD.
Next, it was the washing machine. My housekeeper Margaret was there when the expert came to investigate. Three minutes and R550 later, the quote for the repairs to my 10-year-old machine was R4 000. A new one (which would also save me water) would cost R5 000.
Margaret called me with the bad news, more concerned about the dirty laundry than my budget. “But Wic,” she said, “that man is wrong. You must come home. I used the machine and it didn’t trip again.” I said I would check later but that for the time being she must leave the machine off in case it started a fire.
That same evening, I put on a load of whites – ever hopeful – but within minutes the house was plunged into darkness. The technician was right; Margaret was wrong. And just after sunrise, when the furniture store truck arrived at my front door, I was another few thousand rands poorer.
In relationships, they speak of the “seven-year itch”. My kitchen is apparently suffering from a “10-year itch”. Because that’s how long ago I bought everything new as part of a previous renovation. Let that be a lesson: if you buy everything at the same time, it’ll all break down at the same time, it seems. It was a case of ‘delusions of grandeur’ all those years ago because, of course, my brand new kitchen just had to have all new appliances!
Now only the tumble dryer and toaster have yet to quit on me. They are on borrowed time, I reckon. And can I be sure that the stove, which is only three years old, will last another seven?
Fortunately, every kitchen in this issue will last more than seven years – check out our feature on page 46. I was particularly fascinated by the kitchen islands which, over the years, have become such a core element in open-plan spaces that it’s hard to imagine a kitchen without one!