My Kingdom For A Kettle

As we know, the ability to boil water is an early indicator of the prospects of a civilisation. That moment when the discovery of fire, the saucepan and really tasty soup recipes all occur can often can be said to be the origin point for the most successful of societies.

Of course, whilst civilisation requires boiling water, civility requires tea.

I heard tell of a terrible blow to that civility – the recall of 717,000 kettles in the USA.

Imagine the horror of having your kettle recalled.

According to complaints, with this particular kettle hot water can spill from the spout. I”m pretty sure it’s supposed to.

Also, steam can travel up the handle and scald your hands. It’s not supposed to do that.

And finally, the whole kettle bottom can melt on the stove. Three strikes, it’s out.

Now I know that, as the kettle was exclusive to Target, some people are gong to say: “Well, they are probably just making tea bag tea or instant coffees, so to hell with them. If they were using loose leaf they’d have a bought a kettle from Fifth Avenue, or better yet, simply let the butler know when they want a cuppa.”

But the USA has had some economic issues over the last five years, and some people have found the going tough. Fine people may have been forced to buy a cheap kettle from Target in order to sustain their 50 gram a day Lord Petersham addiction. And obviously, these people need our love and support.

But it got me thinking: what would I do if my kettle was suddenly, unexpectedly, ruled out? Going without tea is of course not an option, and as millions turn to me for inspiration, I thought I’d share some ideas. A bit of  a guide for the kettle-less.

The Bad Options

(1) Using a microwave.

That’s just tacky. Don’t do it.

(2) Using a saucepan on the stove

I’m not a fan. No device that have been used to cook 170 spaghetti bolognaises should be used for tea.

The Good Options

(1) Own more than one kettle.

The problem with this idea is by the time it becomes essential, you are in a kettle-free state. But you’ll know better next time.

(2) Make Billy tea

Build a small fire in your yard, or on the fire escape if you live in an apartment complex, and suspend a can of water on a stick across the fire. It’s tea AND an adventure.

(3) Ask the neighbours for boiling water.

Simply issue your neighbours with a schedule for your 12 cups of tea per day, and ask them to pop over with boiled water at those times. It’s the neighbourly thing for them to do.

(4) Make sun tea

Leaving cold water and tea leaves in the sun to brew: Why not? Although the wait might be a problem if you want your tea now.

(5) Call room service

Think this only works if you live in a five star hotel? Nonsense! Slip into a hotel and ring the desk, ask for hot water for room 221. Then be nonchalantly standing outside the lift door when it opens, and say “Oh, is that for me. I’m in 221. Thank you. Please add a $10 tip to my bill.” Take the water and escape once the lift departs.

(6) Visit a great little tea shop

Sure, you might get some resistance if you’ve been in there 14 straight hours and they want to close, but stand up for your rights to good tea.

 (7) Visit a bad tea shop/cafe

Simply explain to them that they do not meet your standards, but as long as they provide boiling water for the tea and teapot you’ve bought, you’ll try not to hold it against them.

(8) Visit friends

This is one reason why you should always give tea as a gift, it makes it easier for them to live up to your standards when you visit.

(9) Have all of your daily tea at the office

Explain to your boss that you need to have a tea break every 22½ minutes in order to get your daily quota in. If they object, mention the Convention on Human Rights. The right to have a tea break is included in section 23524(a) part (c), between the right to not have to endure Paul McCartney’s Christmas Album at shopping centres and the right to punch people wearing berets.

(10) Become a magician

The ability to wave your hand an conjure boiling water would be useful. Also, the cloak and top hat is rather dashing.


There it is a brief guide to navigating the horror of being kettleless. I welcome your suggestions. Feel free to comment.

3 thoughts on “My Kingdom For A Kettle

  1. “No device that have been used to cook 170 spaghetti bolognaises should be used for tea.” Why not buy one to boil tea and only water?

    I would take the magician option.

  2. It is very apparent it’s time for me to brush up on my knowledge of the Convention of Human Rights 23524(a) part (c). I wasn’t aware of the beret clause. Merci beaucoup.

  3. You might also stare at the cup till the water boils. Although it will probably have evaporated before it boils.

    Notice that a spare kettle might not always be enough. Power black out turns all electric kettles useless. So make sure you have alternatives for different situations and of course a nuclear power plant in your back yard (or on the fire escape) just in case.

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