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'I bought an air fryer - and the handbook is full of really useful suggestions'

I don't go into the bank very often. Mainly because it's never open.

I can now look all those Daily Express lifestyle writers in the eye
I can now look all those Daily Express lifestyle writers in the eye

The great minds that run our financial institutions have adopted a model which sees them open their doors at least half an hour after most people start work, and closes them at least half an hour before we finish. And then uses falling customer numbers as justification to shut them.

And every time I do go into the bank, two things seem to happen. First, the layout of the building seems to have changed, with fewer and fewer staff, and more and more machines; and secondly the one person who is around to help me tells me I need to get the banking app.

Until last year, I always had the perfect rebuttal for such as suggestion, that I didn't have a device to use it. This time, now equipped with a modern smartphone, I had little choice but to disclose the real reason – I don't trust internet banking.

Call me a Luddite whatever, but carrying a device around which can empty your bank account at the press of a touch-screen does not appear to me to be the last word in security. And the benefits that internet banking seems to offer – mainly shorter opening hours for bank branches – do not appear to justify the risk of having my life savings fleeced by some blinged-up mate of Mr Putin.

Truth is, I do tend to be late adopter of technology. While I think sat-nav is brilliant, I've only got terrestrial television, have never owned an iPod, and don't subscribe to Netflix or Amazon Prime, mainly because I don't have a computer.

But, in a moment of madness this week, I have decided to follow the heard and buy the must-have gizmo that everybody is talking about – the air fryer. Indeed, judging from the amount of coverage they receive in the tabloids, I was beginning to wonder whether I was the only person in the world to be without such a device. In the same way I seem to be the only person in the world who has no idea what Game of Thrones or The Only Way is Essex is all about.

The thing is, until the past few weeks, I viewed the air fryer pretty much like those George Foreman grilling machines that were all the rage 20 years ago, or the breadmakers you read about in the Sunday Times magazine – pointless gimmicks you will use once, and will spend the rest of its life at the back of the cupboard among all the tinned fruit you bought years ago in case there was a nuclear war.

But the fact that my energy bills are now set to double has caused me to have a rethink, particularly with the Daily Express telling me every day that air fryers practically run on thin air. That, and the fact that my 22-year-old gas cooker now takes two hours to bake a tray of oven chips, while modern gas cookers all seem to be unspeakably ugly with no lid to cover the stove.

But of course, the main reason I have bought an air fryer is that it seems you cannot be considered a proper journalist these days unless you write at least three articles a week about them. So here is the first in what will hopefully become a regular slot.

Like all modern appliances, it comes with a strange list of dos and don'ts – for example, it must not be placed against a wall, and there must be a 4in gap all around the appliance. Also, 'to avoid fire, electric shock or injury', it advises against soaking the device underwater. Pressing your hands and face against the air vents while steam is pouring out is another no-no.

And one very useful tip in the handbook, which I will share with you free of charge, is if the food hasn't cooked in the given time, pop it back in and cook it some more. Who'd have thought?

There is also helpful trouble-shooting guide, which suggests that if the fryer does not work, it might be a good idea to "Ensure it is plugged in securely", and "Turn the timer control to the desired time setting."

Anyhow, having successfully negotiated all these obstacles, I managed to cook three meals in just half an hour, which is not bad going. And by the time you read this is it will have had its second outing. Most importantly, though, I can now look all those Daily Express lifestyle writers in the eye and consider myself a fully fledged air fryer journalist.

It will be a while, though, before I can tell you whether it really is the silver bullet that will solve the energy crisis. The cynic in me thinks it will take a while before it even pays for itself.

Still, on the positive side, it does have one advantage over most modern technology: I'm pretty sure the Russians won't be able to hack into it.

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