Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A coffee maker! That makes coffee!

Yes, I really am posting about the fact that we finally got a coffee maker that works. We have been here for nearly a week now and have been trying our mightiest to do the whole tea thing. Really. We have. It's just not the same. We walk around with these dazed expressions on our faces, saying "What do you want to do?". "I don't know, what do you want to do?" when all we've had is tea in the morning. And we're doing it right, too - drinking PG tips and all (I do adulterate mine with honey, but don't tell!). We gave it a week. It's just not working.
Of course, this is not made any easier by the fact that at the Bath Farmer's Market on Saturday, we found a delightful young man selling all varieties of fairly traded coffees and picked up 250g of a lovely biodynamic Brazilian blend promising "classic chocolate notes with a little hazelnut finish". First, we started in Keynsham. We didn't have much hope, and any that we did have was dashed by the completely flummoxed look on the shopowner's face. "A what?" Was her response. "In Keynsham?" Message received. No coffee makers were to be found in Keynsham.
Shortly thereafter, we popped by Kitchens Kitchens in the Bath city centre and found every possible kitchen gadget - hundreds of knives, cutting boards, baking pans, etc. Small appliances galore in every color and size imaginable--and two (count 'em, TWO) coffee makers. One was the same one we left in the U.S. with a built-in grinder that was selling for £130 and one was a no-frills £30 model. Needless to say, as we are both currently unemployed and needed nothing fancy, we picked up the cheaper version. Bad idea. We put it through a trial run, and not only did it make a huge amount of noise and take FOREVER, but by the end of things, about 1/2 of the water we put in the machine ende up evaporating out during the very noisy and time-consuming process. Fail.
The next night, we shared a most delicious sushi feast with a woman Chad met here in March, and she recommended going to the House of Fraser, but more specifically the one in Bristol as it is much larger than the one in Bath and she had actually perused their selection of coffee makers at one point. Off to Bristol we went on our quest.
Bristol is about 6 minutes away from Keynsham, and is the "real" city in the area. Bath is a city, of course, but it's really rather touristy, with the baths, of course, the various cathedrals, cutesy pubs and all that stonework. Bristol is a proper city, bustling with people who know where they're going and had to be there five minutes ago. It was quite reassuring really, after all the gawking tourists in Bath who would just stop in the middle of the sidewalk to stare, open- mouthed at one bit of architecture or another. Of course, if you're one of those tourists, as we were, we were a bit in the way as we took pictures of Chad standing under the awing of a building that said "King House", and stopped in the middle of the sidewalk to take a picture of the River Avon flanked by a castle on one side and a fantastic looking very modern shiney swoopy building on the other (those of you on Facebook know what pictures I'm talking about. I will get photos up here soon. Really).
We finally found our way to Cabot Circus, basically a mall, and the House of Fraser there. The House of Fraser is kind of the Nordsrom's of the UK. It's a huge department store with fairly high-end merchandise - Bobbie Brown cosmetics and Deisel jeans (drool drool), if you know what I mean. We found our way to the housewares section, and lo! The selection of coffee makers stretched out wide before us. They had espresso makers, they had automatic drip, they had combination of the two, they had those one cup jobbers that everyone is so excited about. In the end, after realizing it would probably be just as difficult to find disposable coffee filters as it would be to find the actual coffeemaker, we went with a simple Bodum french press.
So here I sit, blogging away, sipping my lovely Brazilian roast with distinct chocolate and hazelnut undertones. Chad's just left to catch the 10:56 train to Bath so he can attend his induction at the university (he was told to "dress smart", and he did). I'm thinking I might head into town to pick up a few items at the various markets to make chili tonight. My debit card came in the post a few minutes ago, so I can take it on it's maiden voyage. Later today, I plan to return the dreadful automatic coffee maker to Kitchens Kitchens and visit the Fashion museum in Bath with Cecily, the cousin of the woman who pointed us in the direction of the House of Fraser. All this followed by making some tweaks to my resumee and a Skype date with friends in the US. All in all, it's shaping up to be a pretty sweet day.
Cheers for now.


  1. can i just say how much i love that you wrote 'jobbers' and sounded like you meant it?

  2. Hey, my love -

    Aunt Barb and I went through a similar "voyage of discovery" in search of a mattress in Cairo. The Egyptian concept of that particular commodity proved to differ significantly from ours. While they insisted that what we ended up with was "mahtress - yes! Yes! Maht-ress!", we would call a sheet of 3" thick foam.

    Enjoy your coffee! (But you're going to learn to love your tea!

    Love you!
    See you soon!
    Uncle Dave

  3. Wow, some of the things you write about really make me miss England, while others remind me why I stopped living there.

    I am on SKYPE as Dennis R Chase.