Anyway, it got me thinking about the things that I value far beyond their initial cost and I came up with a list of six things.
- As the inspiration, the food processor gets poll position. It gets used at least once a week. I'm always whipping up pancakes or muffins in the blender; cakes, doughs, breadcrumbs and nut-loaves in the main bowl. I don't know how much time or money it has saved me over the years since DH gave it to me as a birthday present, but I do know that there are things I wouldn't make without it to do the hard work.
- The freezer compartment of our side-by-side fridge/freezer. So much of what we buy ends up in the freezer, either deliberately (meat from our quarterly trips to the butcher) or as the consequence of other actions (an excess of lunch boxes filled on the weekend). I do not know how people survive without a decent-sized freezer.
- My little Samsung mobile phone. It's six years old and counting, too old to have a camera or a colour screen. I think it cost £120 new. I'm on pay as you go, so I've never paid a penny of line rental, but I've used it on most of my trips abroad (except to North America - it's dual band, not tri-band). Oh, and calls to Australia cost 20p a minute - is cheaper than using a land-line - always convenient for those "happy birthday" telephone calls to Oz.
- Our microwave-convection oven. Another £120 purchase, but this time 8 years ago. At the time, DH questioned why we needed a combi-oven, when we could pick up a microwave for half the price and we had a large stove with twin ovens (I think my response was an illogical but persuasive "Because I want one!"). Fast forward three years to when we moved into this house and we discovered that there was no 480-volt electric hook up for the stove (the hob is gas, the ovens are electric). Remodelling the kitchen is high on the renovations list, but until then the convection feature is getting a lot of use. I bake cakes in it, cook roasts, grill sausages, make pies, etc, etc. The usuable space is a bit small - at the most 12 inches by 8 high - and my main roasting dish is a 12-inch deep-crust pizza tray, but there isn't much that can't be cooked in there without a little planning.
- Every knitting needle and crochet hook I have ever owned. And the entire contents of the stash. Self explanatory to knitters. For non-knitters: knitting is far more than the act of "making a sweater". There is a large amount of entertainment value in the act of creating something from scratch, particularly if that act involves cables or lace.
- My sewing machine. Ditto point 5. I used to work off Great Portland Street, when it was still nominally London's garment district. Just around the corner from us was a little shop crammed with end-of-roll fabrics for £5 a metre or so. My fabric stash still holds several metres from those days (I have nowhere to sew.) I have made skirt suits from 3 metres of fabric, at a quarter of the cost of comparable items in the shops. Sure, it takes time and effort to sew an outfit but no more so than most people waste watching TV (knitters/crocheters excluded). The sewing machine was a gift from my mum, who taught me to sew when I was in pre-school.