We might consider this to be the new European upgrade to the older British thought, that an umbrella is what you leave at home when you want it to rain*. That a barbecue is something that is bought when that cloudburst is desired. Certainly it has just worked for us this morning.

So far so humdrum an observation.

The true interest coming in the instructions. Those for assembly are of course the usual Ikea** garble, translated though several SE Asian languages to Scandi then some simulacrum of English. But the instructions for usage are really quite a delight:

4) Do not use charcoal or similar combustible materials in this appliance.

5) Before using the barbecue for the first time, it must be heated and the charcoal must be incandescent for at least 30 minutes.

It’s the combination of the two I find so lovely. And no, it’s not just a translation issue, the instructions in (four) other languages make the same two points.

Even, it’s actually in pretty good English, just totally incomprehensible all the same.

*Originally, I think, George Mikes. As ever, the immigrant who understands the natives better than they do themselves.

** No, we didn’t buy from Ikea, but they do seem to be the instruction manual model globally.

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Reminds me of the motorcycle manual instructing users to wear a seat belt.


No. A barbecue is what sensible people buy only when they have moved to a country with a reliable summer climate, e.g., anywhere close to the Med which, as I recall from my A level Geography classes and from recent experience of living in the vicinity, is characterised by “Winter Rain, Summer Drought”.


Even here, where there still hasn’t been a day warm enough to enjoy a ball game, the local DIY has on display an L-shaped barbecue ensemble sufficient for a small restaurant. This would feed a memorable party, once a year, except that all the right hook-ups are on the swamp side of the house. And it would probably rain the day of the party, too. (Also, the conversations are much better here than among my neighbors.) There is a reason homes are built with their kitchens indoors.


I have barbecued twice this weekend making a grand total of 4 times this week. And this in Dublin.

Bloke in North Dorset

Just bought my first gas BBQ for the motorhome which has a built in autogas tank for the cooker and heater. We used it the past 3 nights and it was brilliant, no long wait and guess when to start cooking. No waiting for the charcoal to burn out before cleaning and packing up.

The food was just as good and it’s a great way to cook halloumi.

And I didn’t make the rain come.

I’m converting to gas at home now.


George Mikes did write “English weather is a compromise between rain and snow. In fact, almost everything about life in England is a compromise.”

I can’t find him saying anything about umbrellas in my library but an online search turned up the Law of Propitious Forfendation:


Bloke in Cyprus
Bloke in Cyprus

As Rob says, location, location, location…

We had a lovely BBQ here yesterday safe in the knowledge that it won’t rain until November. We use gas for every-day meals and charcoal for the traditional Souvla.

As for Ikea, I assembled some furniture recently and was impressed both by the quality of the product and the detailed assembly instructions.