I'd steamed a load of onion, carrot, peppers, cabbage, celery and tomatoes and ladled some into the blender, added a little vegetable stock and turned the switch. The motor made a noise but the blades wouldn't turn. I took the soup ingredients out and tried again. The motor turned fine. So my blender worked, but only when it was empty.

I had bought the machine, which came with a one-year guarantee, 16 months earlier. Built-in obsolescence, eh? Good for keeping the economy going and the landfills full, but it's me that has to lug yet another bulky purchase home.

Then there's my laptop, which one day began to play a little tune and died. When I took it to the shop I'd bought it in, the man said it was a "death tune" that all laptops of that particular brand and model eventually rattled out - and, "I'm sorry, madam, but it's a month over your warranty."

I grew up with a Russell Hobbs kettle. It boiled enough water for thousands of pots of tea during my childhood and it was still steaming away merrily long after I'd left home.

But back to the blender. After a few days of missing my soups and smoothies I went to Fortress and forked out for a new one. I didn't check what gizmos it had, how fast it whizzed, or whether it could crush ice or de-seed pumpkins; no, I merely established where the brand repair shop was. Safe in the knowledge of where to go when the inevitable happens again and reassured it is not to the back of beyond, I felt strangely comforted.

Banana smoothie anyone?