Kelly to the Rescue

We had three power cuts last week on three different days. None of them lasted more than about half an hour but all 3 coincided with me stopping for a cup of tea or coffee. As everything in this house is electric apart from the woodstove that meant no way of boiling a kettle unless I lit the fire and it was far too hot to do that. Luckily I have a Kelly kettle. These cunning devices were reputably invented by an Irish fisherman as a way of brewing hot drinks on a wooden boat in the middle of the sea. They are sometimes called Storm Kettles because they can be used in any weather.

The top part consist of a tube which is the chimney inside another tube enclosing water. This stands on a base which holds the fire. You fill the jacket with water through the spout. The bung keeps the water clean until you are ready to use the ketle but must then be removed or the steam fires it like a missile!

Put paper in the base with a bit sticking out through the air hole and cover it with small pieces of dry wood, stand the top on it and set a match to the paper. Then you feed more bits of wood down the chimney until the water boils. I always have plenty of shavings lying on my workshop floor which are perfect for this but and small dry twigs or kindling will do. Once you have a proper boil lift the top off the fire (an oven glove makes it easier) and use the bung on its chain to tilt the spout so water pours into your teapot or mug. Simple but very effective! I could have boiled just one mugful but I chose to fill the top up to the spout as it is then easier to see that it is boiling and put what I didn’t need into a flask in case the power was a long time coming back on.

14 thoughts on “Kelly to the Rescue

    • Going Batty in Wales June 28, 2022 / 10:07 am

      I rarely use it but when I need it it is fabulous.


  1. Anne June 27, 2022 / 2:42 pm

    I am so pleased to have made the acquaintance of a Kelly Kettle / Storm Kettle! Thank you for your detailed description and photographs of how it works. It would be useful to have one here where, because of poor maintenance as well as strike action, we are experiencing stage 4 load shedding. This means that our power gets switched off three times a day for two and a half hours at a time.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Going Batty in Wales June 28, 2022 / 10:10 am

      I think it would be godsend for you Anne and useful on your travels too. I bought mine on the internet.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. June 27, 2022 / 2:54 pm

    It’s hard to believe there are people who do not drink tea or coffee, but for lots of us that kettle would be a lifesaver, though a I think I would have to practice first so I would be ready for power cuts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Going Batty in Wales June 28, 2022 / 10:12 am

      When I was learning to work in the woods we used it every day and sometimes had to boil it twice in each tea break so we all got quite good at it. It really isn’t difficult if you make sure you have everything to hand before you light it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Going Batty in Wales June 28, 2022 / 10:14 am

      I imagine they had some way of holding it steady And maybe the story is apocryphal. But it is jolly useful when the power goes off!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Lorna June 30, 2022 / 1:37 am

    What a handy piece to have around! I had not heard of it before.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Going Batty in Wales June 30, 2022 / 4:54 pm

      I am always surprised they are not more common.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. paperpenandmug June 30, 2022 / 8:48 am

    Oh my word but that brought back memories….boiling the water for the tea while the mackerel ccoked over a grill made from an empty biscuit tin.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Going Batty in Wales June 30, 2022 / 4:54 pm

      Glad it brought back good memories

      Liked by 1 person

  5. lisatheardentgardener July 18, 2022 / 10:23 am

    Oh neat! I’ve never heard of this kind of kettle. I’m going to get one! Sorry to hear about the power cuts, but glad you were prepared. What a useful post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Going Batty in Wales July 18, 2022 / 1:16 pm

      Thank you. I hope you can find a Kelly Kettle and enjoy having it.

      Liked by 1 person

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