Tonight’s menu included baked potatoes. I was just about to get them out of the oven when the door came off in my hand. Did I curse and blaspheme …? No: for that 1) the little buggers were, by that point, cooked, and 2), far more importantly, I ordered a new cooker three days ago, HA HA HA. I put great faith in John Lewis: as someone who doesn’t really want to spend much time thinking about domestic matters, I have always felt that the nice ladies in White Goods not only know far more than I do but take it infinitely more seriously. This cooker is only two or three years old, but I think I can see how the narrative developed. The Professor, when in Aberdeen, went and said we needed a cooker. He was not interested in a shopping experience, he didn’t care what it looked like, etc. The nice lady in White Goods sized him up, and said, roughly, well, dearie, this one’s a hundred quid cheaper but it does all the stuff cookers do, I’d just go for it. This seemed perfectly sensible at the time, but even over this distinctly short lifespan, the enamel is starting to go, the grill element prolapsed, the screws which attach it to the back have corroded (this is why we decided to get a new one) and the temperature has become increasingly erratic. What I’ve concluded is that this is a cooker answering the non-question, ‘well, you’ve got to have a cooker, haven’t you?’ and its intended life was one of the odd fry-up, desperate sweaty sessions of Family Funne at Easter or Christmas, and not much else. A cooker for non cooks, and therefore barely functional. The good lady in White Goods was I think led astray by two factors, utter indifference to appearances and also the fact that serious cooks generally cook on gas. But it’s a curious thought, the cooker which isn’t really designed to be used.