Alphabet Challege Day 11

It’s day 11 of my alphabet blogging challenge (almost half way there!)

The letter is K

and the subject is KETTLES

Kettles?! You’re probably thinking – okay, the blogging challenge is demanding, but let’s face it, it’s not a marathon; it’s not climbing Mount Kilimanjaro; it’s not first night at Convent Garden and she’s on in ten minutes. She’s only got write a few words each day on a topic, but somehow it’s sent her over the edge. Kettles?!

Perhaps it is a bizarre choice but I made it for two reasons: (1) I thought I’d go for something more lighthearted today, after yesterday’s arduous journey, and (2) when I’m writing, the kettle is my best friend.  Cups of tea and coffee sustain me through hours spent in front of the computer. I love the whole ritual of filling the kettle, waiting for the water to boil, getting the mug ready, the trip back up the stairs to my study at the top of the house.

This is a picture of my lovely red kettle!

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Some years ago (well, lots of years ago) I undertook a fast. It seems mad now, but (for various reasons) I decided I would only drink water, fruit and vegetable juice for 7 days, with no food! Given that I can barely go an hour now without food of some kind, I’ve got no idea how I did it. And not only did I do 7 days, but actually went on for 8! Not long into the fast, I found the fruit and vegetable juice reminded my taste buds too much of food – they made it more difficult, so in the end I only had water. The point about this diversion is that I was conscious of how much I missed the ritual of the kettle and the tea making. How much the kettle is an integral part of daily life.

History of the kettle (with thanks to Wikipedia)

The first kettles were used in ancient Mesopotamia for purposes other than cooking.[1] But over time these artistically decorated earthenware containers became more frequently utilized in the kitchen. Original kettles were typically made of iron and were placed directly over an open flame. This practice originated in China. Travelers used the kettles in order to produce potable water for themselves.

The word kettle originates from Old Norse ketillcauldron“. The Old English spelling was ċetel with initial che- [tʃ] like ‘cherry’, Middle English (and dialectal) was chetel, both come (together with German Kessel “cauldron”) ultimately from Germanic *katilaz, that was borrowed from Latin catillus, diminutive form of catīnus “deep vessel for serving or cooking food”,[2] which in various contexts is translated as “bowl”, “deep dish”, or “funnel”.

During the 18th Century, the English began to manufacture tea pots out of earthenware, quickly replacing it with silver as materials became available. According to, the development of tea kettles was in direct correlation with the evolution of the modern stove.[3]

In the latter part of the 1800s, with the height of the industrial revolution, electric tea kettles were introduced as an alternative to stove top kettles. The first electric kettles had a warming chamber outside of the water source; but this was soon adapted in favor of an internal warming apparatus.

Modern tea kettles have been manufactured to include a variety of state of the art technology. Some electric kettles are now cordless with illumination capabilities. Whistling kettles are equipped with lightweight dynamics and heat-resistant handles.

Writing exercise involving a kettle (!)

Recently in my writing group, one of the members brought along an idea to stimulate some writing. The idea was

I spent the morning at Camden Market, looking for a kettle that didn’t switch itself off.

Here’s my attempt, written in ten minutes and unfinished:

What a waste of time, I decided, as I ranged over the array of kettles on show – shiny, matt, glass, opaque, black lids, red lids, big spouts, small spouts – the choice was endless. But one that didn’t switch itself off? Nope. No. Not a hope. Not a chance.
Why the hell had I agreed to such a stupid errand? I was almost out of the door when I thought I’d better tell Josie where I was going. A peace-offering. We hadn’t spoken for twenty-four hours, since she’d called me a stupid prat. It was as if she’d ever liked the vase in the first place. It had been her mother’s, and you’d think she’d be grateful to me for breaking it.
So, I’m making my peace-offering: ‘Just going to the market, Josie!’ I called up the stairs, ready to make my escape.
‘Oh, while you’re there … ‘
What the hell! I only told her as a point of info, to be polite – not so she could provide me with a shopping list.
‘What?’ I shouted back. ‘What do you want?’
‘Can you get a kettle that doesn’t … ‘
‘Okay.’ I was relieved to be off the hook. It seemed an easy request, but now … I stared round … what a bloody stupid mission.
‘Have you got a kettle that doesn’t switch itself off?’ I asked the stall holder.
He shook his head.
‘Why not?’
‘No call for it, mate.’
‘But I’ve just called for it.’
The stall holder shook his head. ‘Who’d want to stand over a kettle waiting for it to be boil?’


And that’s all I had time for, but it’s a good point. I wonder if any of you can think of a reason.

I’m off to put the kettle on!


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  1. Christine says:

    I’m staggered that you managed to go for 8 days without solid food! Or wine, come to that. Like you, the kettle is also my best friend and it’s a good day if I can get by with only half a dozen or so cups of tea. And who’d have thought the kettle had such an illustrious history!

  2. Lindsay says:

    I’m staggered too! I certainly couldn’t do it now, but it clearly is possible.

  3. Robin Heaney says:

    My brother used to know a carpenter whose most used power tool was his electric kettle. The gaffer took him to the hospital to get him x-rayed to see if there was any work in him.

  4. Fasting!

    OMG ~ nooooooooo ….

    heh-heh 🙂

  5. Lindsay says:

    It was a long time ago, Polly, when I was young and – you mmight say foolish – but I don’t think so. I was struggling with my novel – yes, twas ever thus! – and wanted/needed re-energising. The fast did it. I wouldn’t and couldn’t do it now, but it’s an experience I am so glad I’ve had.

  6. Lindsay says:

    Robin – what can I say?!

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