My Somerset holiday is turning out to be rather a subdued affair, mainly because of the weather, which, perhaps not surprisingly, has been dull for the last three days. It's relaxing, but some more sunshine would make a huge difference.
Well, I'm off to Bath today with sightseeing in mind, of course, but one particular and essential purchase to make. I want to buy a kitchen timer. My old one - it was actually Mum and Dad's, and I inherited it - was a good one, but it has died. I've been looking around the towns for a replacement - my chief reason, apart from general curiosity, for going to Taunton and Bridgwater the other day. (They're not worth a second visit, trust me)
Why is a timer so important? Well, I have no sense at all of how much time has passed, or how much is left, and I'm easily distracted. These are lifelong traits. For me, all sorts of things get out of control and turn out badly if I can't time them. Cooking most of all, but making a nice cup of tea is a close second, and gluing things together is another one. I'm definitely not of the 'intuitive' school of cooking, often expounded to me, in which you 'just know' when the right time to do something has arrived. Never mind: I can do it with the help of a timer, and I don't think that I'm 'less of a cook' or indeed 'less of a woman' if I use electronic assistance.
And surely I'm not alone. But where are the timers in the shops? Most departmental stores have a cookshop, but none of the ones I've visited have had anything worth buying. Old-fashioned mechanical timers are out, because it's difficult to set short times such as one minute - it must definitely be an electronic timer. And I don't want silly features like a magnetic back, or a clip, or a stainless steel finish - just a freestanding, steady, unpretentious device in white plastic with big buttons and a large display. But the 'march of progress' means that my Ideal Timer seems to be no longer available. How annoying. Perhaps everyone uses the timer app on their iPhone?
Ah, I can actually see a crack in the clouds, with blue sky beyond. Time to set off. Maybe Bath will be Timer Shop City, with a vibrant cooking culture, a Mecca for all temporally-challenged persons. The Roman Baths, Pulteney Bridge, Royal Crescent, and all the rest, including global economics and passing meteors, will have to take a back seat till my quest is satisfied!