I need to fall back in love with the Aga.
This week saw temperatures in our kitchen reach new heights. During the peak of the heatwave I was forced to cook the kids tea in a bikini, and during the 10 minutes it took me to boil some pasta on Wednesday night I had to get in the paddling pool twice. But then came the blessed relief of turning it off so it could be serviced on Thursday morning. As I turned it off I realised I had failed to invest in the thermometer that could have told me what temperature I do my baking at. But I wasn't worried, because you can turn them off without touching the thermostat - all the engineer needed to do was turn it back on again, and I'd be back to normal in no time. Not only had I forgotten that they need to warm up slowly again, but he found a gas leak, and announced he would have to replace the entire control panel, including the thermostat. He finds a gas leak every time he comes to be honest, last year it was the gas cock, the year before that it was something else... It's bad enough that the gas bill every month is almost the same as the council tax, but the insanity of having something to cook your food in that requires an extortionate service every year, and extortionate replacement parts, makes me realise why Aga's marketing department are keen to push the lifestyle choice you make when you buy one, and ensure you understand it's so much more than a cooker... As I wrote out the cheque at the end of his visit, I asked if he had an Aga. When he had stopped laughing and dried his eyes I showed him out.
Now insolvent, I decided to take stock of our finances. It turns out that swimming lessons for three children are quite dear over the course of a year as well...in fact so dear that it's actually markedly cheaper for us to all become members of the very posh private leisure club 5 minutes up the road, at which we can use the pool, jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, gym, fitness centre, tennis court, bar and restaurant. I realise that the children would no longer have a qualified instructor nurturing their progress and encouraging them to blow bubbles, but I've been participating in lessons at least once a week, most weeks, since November 2013. I can shout 'HOLD ON! HOLD ON! HOLD ON!', sing them songs during which they are legitimately allowed to splash water without being threatened with 2 minutes 'time out' on the cold bathroom floor, and dunk them under after a brief warning.
Tough choices, but it looks like we're stuck with the Aga, anyway! Still, the Baby doesn't seem to mind eating on the patio.