I am in the grip of a glorious and magnificent obsession, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.
We live in a rented, furnished flat, so handy household good such as the microwave, the kettle and the toaster came with it. Not unreasonably, many of them are pretty much at the bottom end of the sliding scale of consumer goods that starts with a caravan park on the Welsh coast in the rain and ends with Donald Trump's gold-plated apartment.
Not so very long ago, the toaster decided to ambush us. The widget that controls the timer whatsit and the springing doohicky device quietly died – so quietly that there were no outward signs of its demise. We put in bread and pottered off, ears tuned to the sound of popping toast as a signal to return. But there was no sound, because there was no pop. Instead, eventually, there was the distinctive – and not quickly forgotten – smell of a toaster on fire.
Since then we have been toasterless. Regular readers will remember that the grill recently erupted in a shower of blue sparks, so we have been sadly lacking altogether in the article of toasted bread products.
Two days ago, though, I bought a new toaster. And what a toaster it is too. It's the Dodge Viper of the toaster world, a toaster that plays middle linebacker and sneers at punters, a toaster that knows the meaning of the word 'hardcore' and isn't afraid to use it. It boasts multiple slots, seductively shiny sides with dark, mysterious panels, and an array of glittering buttons and levers marked with incomprehensible icons that play the toast like the bread equivalent of the 1812 Overture at its climax. It bears more than a passing resemblance to a mortar and, like a mortar, when the weather's clear it's capable of bombarding Belgium.
I am hooked. I can't stop toasting things. Muffins. Bagels. Crumpets. Irish potato bread. Sainsbury's own-brand medium sliced white. They've all disappeared into its gaping maw. I'd toast my fingers if I thought they'd work lightly browned and slathered in cream cheese.
Now, I know what you're saying – “boys and their toys, show then an inch of chrome and a bit of brute power and they start frothing at the mouth”. Well, I'm sorry. You just have to be there when the automatic throcking device kicks in. Then you'd get it…
Anyway, must go – I think there's some left-over French bread I can slice up.
This post was sponsored by the Toast Marketing Board – for all your toast needs, all the time.