Fredo, as I like to call him, was gifted to me by a kind reader who spotted that Mr Frog, while he graciously left me most of the furniture, did however make away with our coffee machine.
For my first date with Fredo, I consented to an expedition to the Rive Gauche to meet him in a café. Something of a rarity for me, as I am a definitely a Right Bank girl at heart. But I did not regret it. For me at least, it was love at first sight. There was something about his particular brand of Latin retro chic which I found irresistible. From the moment I laid eyes on him, I was simply itching to get my hands on his frothing attachment.
I knew, all along, that this would only be a fling, as Fredo was officially on long term loan only, as kind reader’s husband was a little dubious about the idea of his good lady wife giving a wedding present away to a stranger, even if a spangly new nespresso machine had recently stolen Fredo’s place in his affections.
My new Italian friend was heavy, weighing in at a good seven kilos, but I battled valliantly home on the métro, cradling him in my arms, reasoning that, in fact, he only weighed the equivalent of half a Tadpole. And I was confident that Fredo would prove to be rather less fickle than my daughter.
How wrong I was.
Don’t get me wrong, Fredo and I have shared some rare moments of complicity these past few weeks. In times of stress, he was there for me, without fail. Frothing milk, I have discovered, has a profoundly calming effect on my nerves, so we have made cappuccino after cappuccino together. His espresso looks and tastes simply perfect, a dark bitter body topped with a delicate creamy head. Fredo and petite: a match made in heaven.
Until one morning, without any warning, he lost his temper with me and grew violent. I watched with alarm as grainy water gushed over the top of the filter and sullied the cappuccino I was preparing. Gasped and brusquely flipped his switch to “off” as I saw his arm begin to swing sideways under the influence of some evil impulse. Took a step back and watched in disbelief as the filter arm detached itself altogether, seemingly in slow motion, splattering me, and my entire kitchen, with boiling coffee grounds.
Today this occurred for the second time in as many weeks.
I eye Fredo, reproachfully, while applying burn spray to my left arm.
“I’m warning you,” I say, in my most menacing voice. “Three strikes and you are out. I’ll save up my paypal donations and buy myself a new friend. Throw you out on your ear. You may be fiendishly handsome, but don’t make the mistake of thinking you are irreplaceable.”
I realise that I probably should have paid more heed to my mother’s warnings about Latin males.