I was going to write this post on Friday, but then got distracted. I was amazed - and amused - by the apostrophe error in the large poster we saw on our way up the travelator in Carrefour. Consensus amongst those who have seen it appears to be that Xma must be Santa's ex-wife, and that he is selling off all her trees (perhaps in revenge?); if so, then then the punctuation was technically not in error after all...
Then yesterday I remembered that I'd taken a photo of an empty bag of frozen peas, and wondered if I could write a full-length post about such a mundane topic. I think I succeeded... it's a bit of a standing joke in our home that I can sometimes take a couple of sentences that don't communicate much and turn them into a lengthy A4 page that some people might even find vaguely interesting.
But now, finally, I can reveal the reason we were in Carrefour in the first place.
The ladies staying in our guest flat recently mentioned that they hadn't used the microwave oven, as it looked a bit too old, with so much of the paint worn away that there was a lot of metal showing. (We had asked them to let us know if any of the appliances or anything else was not working.)
We can't remember how old that microwave is.. but we had it at our old house for some years, so it must be at least ten. Probably more. It's done good service. And since we were given a very generous gift by these ladies, we thought that perhaps we might buy a new microwave. Hence our trip to Carrefour. We studied the various options, and then thought that perhaps we could move our current microwave - still functional and looking reasonably good, six-and-a-half years old - into the guest flat, and have a new one ourselves.
Most of the ones on offer were small, and basic, like the one we've been using. But we kept coming back to this one, a Carrefour own brand that has 23 litres capacity (all the others were either 20l or 17l), and a grill (broiler) function in addition to the microwave. Better still, it was in the sale (thanks to Xma, perhaps?) and no more expensive than the others. And it was in a black and metallic cover which would go well with the rest of our kitchen.
So we bought it, and installed it, and indeed it looked good:
We were slightly mystified by this metal stand that came with it, although perhaps that's only for times when the appliance is used for grill only:
Richard plugged it in and switched it on, and figured out how to set the time:
About five seconds later, the display went blank. Totally black all over. He thought the plug was faulty, took it out and put it in again, and it came on, and let him set it again. Five seconds later, it went blank. Pressing the triangle button made it display... for about five seconds.
We assume this is an EU requirement to save power, but rather a nuisance since having a clock on the microwave, always on display, can be very useful.
We then looked at the display, and wondered what on earth to do to set the thing going. With our old one, one knob set the time, another the power, and that was it.
I picked up the instruction guide, which was quite thick and looked hopeful:
Unfortunately, although there were instructions in French, Spanish, Dutch, Italian, Romanian and Greek, there were none in English.
My Greek is far too sketchy to make sense of instructions for an appliance, so I turned to the French, which, despite many decades since I studied it, still comes more easily to me than Greek. Alas, school French didn't include many of the words, but happily there were lots of little pictures in the instructions so I did manage to understand how to get the microwave part to work... just around the same time as Richard worked it out by looking at the icons on the screen and seeing what happened when he pressed them.
So. We had worked out how to heat up a cup of previously-made coffee, which is a very important process in our house.
Today, Richard being out, I decided to use the microwave/grill combined function for my lunch, as I had managed to figure out enough French to see how that worked. G for Grill, C-1 and C-2 for different combinations of microwave/grill. No indication as to when one would use C-1 or C-2, but I tried them both, and even the grill alone.
I didn't see any browning; it appeared to me that whichever function I pressed, the result was basically the same.
Still, the complexity of this appliance reassures me that it's much better to leave our simple, intuitive (if older) microwave in our guest flat for people to use when in a hurry.