I’d known for a while that things weren’t well with our Bialetti coffee pot. It spluttered and wheezed, and there were times when nothing came through, or just a tarry, bitter discharge, like something that would seep from the wound on the flank of a Nazgûl. I knew that the internals could be in some way renewed, but I doubted my abilities in that respect, and so just bought a new, cheaper coffee pot. However, though rather pretty, it had a dribbling spout. I’m an easy going soul, and slow to wrath, but one thing I won’t put up with is a dribbling spout, so I sent it back.
Then I decided to try to fix the old pot. I ordered a new metal filter and seals, and the little perforated cup that you put the coffee in.
At breakfast I warned the family that this was a dangerous procedure. I got my toolkit out, and my array of wrenches, in gauges from huge to wee. I put on my leather apron, suited alike for blacksmithing, or alchemy. And, finally, my Casey Jones engineer’s hat.
‘You have to be careful with the er, pressure readings,’ I said. ‘Get this wrong and it could blow.’ I protected the family by working behind my yellow plastic tool box. I pried it all apart and, yes, now I could see that the rubber seal was as decayed and corrupt as the last days of the Byzantine Empire, and the metal cup almost scrottally warped and wrinkled.
‘Be careful dad,’ said Rosie, who was the only one who seemed concerned for my safety.
‘It’s the valvage,’ I explained. ‘I don’t know if the spannions will hold. I’ve rigged it, but … well, we can only pray.’
In fact, it was all very easy, but behind the concealing barrier of the tool kit I could have been doing anything.
Anyway, I screwed it all together and made some coffee. It worked fine. The coffee tasted of coffee. But by that stage everyone had gone off to school or wherever it is that Mrs McG goes during the day, so there was no one left to appreciate my endeavours.