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I was once a Brownie, and the only thing of importance I can remember from those days is the motto of Brownies, Girl Guides and scouts, which was and probably still is, "Be prepared."
With winter fast approaching along with the season of power cuts, I feel reasonably well prepared; with plenty of candles, a lamp and two kettles, one electrically powered and the other a whistling kettle, heated on the gas stove.
I am the sort who, as soon as the power goes down, will desperately need a cup of tea or coffee, whereas a few minutes before; the notion would not have entered my head for at least another hour or so.
Up until a few weeks ago, I had been using one of the old-fashioned types of whistling kettles with the whistle placed inside a removable cap. The trouble with this was that the cap became difficult to remove from the spout once the water had boiled, making it a potentially dangerous implement. The older the kettle got, the more difficult it was to remove the cap. Eventually I was having to place the kettle in the sink and use oven gloves to protect my hands whilst having a tug-o-war with the cap. My thoughts about the design each time are not printable.
Whilst glancing in the window of one of our popular hardware stores, I noticed a fine array of whistling kettles, of varying designs and prices. The model that appealed to me visually did not appeal price-wise, however I thought to investigate further.
On the shelf was yet another design that caught my eye, as did the price - reduced from £26.95 to £19.78, called leXpress 2.4 litre Whistling Kettle. I took it out of its box to examine it further; it ticked all the safety issue boxes and was suitable for use on all hobs, electric, ceramic, induction and gas. With no hesitation, I slipped it back into its box and paid the asking price - no - I did not try to negotiate a lower price this time
The body of this kettle is very curvaceous, it almost resembles the shape of a half-inflated balloon, not quite spherical and not quite, but nearly oval. It has a ceramic appearance, but is in fact, an enamel coated metal.
The handle and lid are of a matt black, sturdy, heat resistant, non-slip plastic, as is the spout cap. The whistle, housed in the small, spring-loaded spout cap is attached to the handle. The trigger-like mechanism to release the cap from the spout is on the underside of the handle. When the cap is released, a short lever springs through the top of the handle, which when pressed repositions the cap and whistle onto the spout again. Therefore, there is no need whatsoever to touch, or wrestle with, the cap.
On the outside of the kettle, in line with the bottom of the rear end of the handle, is a labelled indentation to indicate the maximum level of water safe to boil.
The kettle weighs about 1kg, comes with a ten-year guarantee and is available in four colours, cream, grey, black and red. It holds 2.4 litres (4.2 pints) of water, which is more than the average electric kettle.
Although I paid £19.78, I have seen them since on Amazon for £20.31 post free and other sites at £24.95, so it pays to look around.
When I opened the kettle to fill with water, I saw a little leaflet inside with instructions on how to use and care for the kettle, most of it common sense, of course. It advises against the use of any abrasive cleaners, which could scratch the enamel and that even though the handle is, heat resistant it may become hot, although I have not found it to become more than warm.
The whistle is a gentle sound not as shrill as the one on my old kettle so may not be heard over the sound of the TV, but then I will be using it when the power is off, so will have no difficulty in hearing it.
It took almost three minutes to boil enough water for three mugs on the stove, obviously a little slower than electric kettles, but not irritatingly so.
I specifically like the contours of the body of the kettle, perfectly smooth with no crevices where droplets of water can seep into and crust, it is perfectly smooth and so easy to keep clean.
The spout is 3.3cm (1.25") in diameter - wide enough through which to fill the kettle from the tap. A technique I shall most likely use on future occasions.
Take no notice of the star rating for picture quality - despite dooyoo's expectations, one cannot receive pictures on this kettle. My reflection, though does not do me justice.