Blowing fuse over beeping machines

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Blogger Trish Burgess writes for the Free Press

I bought a new kettle the other week. It beeps when I switch it on at the wall, it beeps when I press the ‘on’ button, it beeps quite furiously when boiling point is reached and then, just to annoy me even further, it beeps when I lift it up from its base.

Why does it do this? I know I have switched it on and it has no need to tell me when it’s boiled as it switches itself off anyway. I certainly don’t need to be told that I have lifted it up.

I don’t think this is an aid for people who are visually impaired. Surely the beeps would, if anything, be confusing? No, I think it has been designed to beep just because it can.

It’s not the only thing in the kitchen that makes an irritating noise. The oven will notify me when the dinner is cooked, which is fine, but it also beeps to remind me that I am switching it on as I am switching it on just in case I wasn’t sure. The old microwave pinged: this new one definitely beeps.

The hob beeps as I increase the heat, one beep for every incremental step; the dishwasher beeps when I choose a setting and merrily wakes the house up when it has done its job. The washing machine used to beep until I discovered a settings menu and silenced the blasted thing.

But the most annoying beep belongs to the fridge. The nanny fridge. Heaven forbid I should cause a drop in temperature as I open the door. It allows me precisely one minute in which to choose what to have for dinner before scolding me with a high­pitched squeal so that I have to shut the door to silence it. I need more than 60 seconds to create something appetising and nourishing from an egg, some limp lettuce and an out­of­date jar of mango chutney.

It’s even more problematic when I want to clean it, although I am winning the battle here. It takes me 58 seconds to remove the food from one shelf and wipe the surface before it chastises me. I repeat the sequence, shelf by shelf, closing the door just in time and then have great pleasure in telling the fridge that all the food is now on the kitchen bench and deteriorating whether it likes it or not.

I was moaning to my mum about my digital kitchen and she said it was my fault for buying new­fangled things. When she was a girl, nothing in the kitchen made noises like that. Gas hobs made a pleasing woomph when you turned them on, dishes were washed by hand and the washing machine was a tub with a handle.

“Yes, but you had one thing that made a racket,” I replied. “Your kettle whistled.”

Some things never change.

You can follow Trish on Twitter @mumsgoneto and read her blog at