The Portable Gas Stove.

Walked into Aldi. Looking for a portable Gas Stove. Found one. Thrown in on top of some forks and rakes and garden hoses.

No price tag. Walked up to the girl working. Asked her: ‘How much for this?’

‘Is there a price tag?’

‘No.’

‘No?’

‘No.’

‘Oh, ‘ she said. ‘I’ll have to check that out.’

She went to check it out. Came back and said: ‘It’s €5.99.’

‘Does that include the gas?’

‘Gas?’

‘It’s a portable gas stove. I’ll need gas to run it.’

‘Oh, no.’ She said. ‘No gas with this one. It’s already on offer. Check in some camping shops.’

Later in a camping shop. I walked in, holding the gas stove. Your man behind the counter took a look, reached behind the counter, and held up four cans of gas and said: ‘These are what you’re looking for.’

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‘Is it?’

‘Tis. You and the whole country. Everyone’s on the gas today.’

‘How much are they?’

‘€2.50 a can. Pack of four for €10?’

‘Sound.’

Left there. Went home. Opened up the stove. Stuck in the gas.

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Nothing happened. Figured it was the ignition switch not working.

Borrowed a lighter off Michelle. She gave it with a warning: ‘Don’t break it.’

It broke almost immediately. Two flints over the stove and the spring went. Now I had four cans of gas, a portable gas stove and a shite lighter.

Michelle came back and said: ‘I told you not to break it. Now I need another one.’

Went to the shop to buy another one. The fella behind the counter said: ‘Red or Green?’

‘What’s the difference?’

‘Red is €1. Green is €1.50.’

‘Gimme….red.’

He took down the red one. Then I got an image of it breaking cos it was cheaper so I asked: ‘How much for a box of matches?’

’30 cent.’

‘I’ll take one of them so too, in case.’

He frowned and handed them out.

Now I’m €17.30 down and no stove.

Went back to the house. Gave Michelle the red €1 lighter. Used the matches to try and inspire the gas to light up. No go. What now? There might be a power cut. There will be a power cut. You might not have power for days. Man needs a gas stove. Might need to cook rice or something. Whole country’s using them. Didn’t your man in the shop say it. This is the way to go.

Next thing it started working. A great flame. A warm glow. Felt like the first caveman that  ever discovered fire. Said: ‘Hey, Michelle, I got it going. Come and look.’

But by the time she got there, the flame had died again. There was just a stack of burnt matches on the table, and a smell of sulphur, and no gas stove that worked. Packed the whole lot up and put it back in the box then stuck my hand in the bin and fished out the receipt. Bringing it back to Aldi tomorrow. Get my money back. What about the power cut, Micky? To hell with the power cut. Didn’t happen anyway.

€17.30 well spent on a box of burnt matches and no stove. Great country.

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Buy Mick Donnellan’s Novels here.

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