Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Auld acquaintance not forgot

It’s always good to be reunited with an old and valued friend after a separation.

The other day a box was delivered to my door. I was only in by chance, since no one had warned me it was turning up. It was marked ‘6 Sets of Solar Rock Lights’ and apparently came from Felixstowe. That’s a fine port in East Anglia, and I have nothing to say against it, even if it’s practically a suburb of Amsterdam, but I don’t know anyone there and had no memory of ordering anything called a ‘solar rock light’.

Come to think of it, I had only the dimmest idea what solar rock lights were. It seemed unlikely that they would be drops of sunlight caught by some miracle of science in living rock, so I guessed they might be electrically-powered lights using batteries charged during the day by solar energy. Danielle looks after the garden and has put some splendid lights in it, so it seemed safe to assume that she’d ordered some more.

I carefully put the box to one side where it wouldn’t be in anyone’s way but she’d see it when she got in.

‘What on earth is this?’ she asked as soon as she had, ‘did you order some solar lights?’

So it was nothing to do with her, then. There was nothing for it but to open the box and take a look.

What did we find? Our Espresso machine. We bought it over a year ago, and paid extra for a special five year warranty. Sadly, the company we bought it from (Comet) has since gone bankrupt, but the warranty people are still in business. So we contacted them when the machine went wrong.

Now when this happened in the past, with other machines, the shop simply replaced them. Not in this case. They sent a courier round to collect it. They then went quiet for nearly three weeks.

The effect was terrible. An espresso at the start of the day is such a delight to me that I usually have two of them. Three weeks of separation were a painful deprivation. Danielle had had the foresight to buy a fine little cafetiere which makes one generous cup of coffee, or two mean ones, so we weren’t without caffeine. But it wasn’t the same.

When the withdrawal symptoms were really setting in, we phoned the warranty people.

‘Err... the contract gives us 28 days, you know,’ they told us.

So it was back to patience and reliance on the cafetiere. Until 24 days had gone by and, hey presto, the solar rock lights box turned up, with our espresso machine travelling, as it were, incognito. Pure joy.

An old friend, back in pride of place

Funny thing was that we had received no message to warn us, there was no note in the box, we’ve had no call since to check that everything was OK. The image this leaves me with is that of five guys in some back-street workshop in Felixstowe, frantically trying to repair all the appliances sold by Comet that have since gone wrong, and without secretarial support for correspondence or the funds to pay for their own packaging. 

To be honest, it’s quite an attractive image. Why just replace something that’s gone wrong? It’s gratifying to discover somebody that still actually repairs things instead. By the same token, w
hy not re-use an old box?  

It has also to be said that the machine’s been doing sterling business ever since its return. My two espressos, Danielle’s latte, every morning, without fail and without problem. We’re entirely satisfied clients, delighted to have our old friend back amongst us.

In fact, the only problem is that I feel guilty about the cafetiere. It served us well. I washed and burnised it lovingly each day. And now it’s stuffed at the back of a cupboard again.

A faithful friend in need,
now sadly abandoned among mere glassware
How must it be taking this sudden and undeserved rejection?


Awoogamuffin said...

That's all well and good, but weren't you secretly hoping for some solar rock lights?

David Beeson said...

I have no secrets from you.