Of all the things I’ve ended up buying for the Nepal trip at the end of this week, my new travel kettle may well turn out to be the thing which brings me the most joy.
The cups that come with the Cookworks Travel Kettle are utterly ridiculous, a guaranteed way of sending any serious tea drinker around the bend. I’ll take a mug with me instead.
But why the joy from something so painfully bland? I adore the simplicity of the kettle. I like the way it promises to reassure me if things appear a little weird. I love its sturdiness too. It’s a tea-drinker’s teddy bear.
Today marks the last of the purchases too. I’ve received the second of the Bestlight LED lights, so too the backdrop stands which will double up as light stands. A couple of battery chargers, plus some extra alkaline batteries should be a reassuring backup on those days when we’re heading out of Kathmandu.
I’d normally hire all of this stuff from work, lug it into a taxi, set it up in a hurry and take it back again so as to avoid an extended hire charge.
Now, at a fraction of the cost I’ve invested in my own kit- the camera stabiliser, slider, backdrop stands and lights the total cost is £100. Now it feels all the more real — something I really do. Something I can return to time after time in the future, experiment with different ideas as and when I want to.
I laid out all the gear on the spare bed in the guest room tonight. I felt a weird crackle of excitement when I look at it. I can’t wait to use it all, to see — hopefully — the subtle differences it will make to the finished product.
An unexpected thought emerges from all of this too.
I come from a family of photographers and videographers. My father and his brother set up a photography business in the town where I came from. Both worked for the fledgling independent television station, Anglia TV, my Dad as a ‘stringer’ cameraman, my uncle full-time for the organisation (he trained one of the BBC’s now regional news anchors).
Photography and videography was part of my upbringing I now realise. God only knows why its taken me so long to realise.
So, what changed? The opportunity to do a degree in something I wanted do — Music and History — took me away from that which I’d known as a kid. I passed up the opportunity to work in the family business. Pursued my own path. Struggled a bit (at least, in my head).
Now, thirty years later, I’m buying the basic equipment my Dad had lying around the place when I was a kid. It’s only now I’m excited by the prospect of using that kit. It feels like I’ve come home.