I have come to the conclusion, all things considered, that I prefer living alone. Except, that is, for one thing. Instruction manuals.
Whether for my Dyson, washing machine, tumble drier, lawnmower, TV or Nikon camera, I am really phased when it comes to reading the instruction booklets. I can’t get passed the basic instructions before my eyes start to glaze over and I start to think what I want for tea. In the past, I would pass them to my ex asking him to read them and to give me a precis of what I needed to do.
But he is no longer here, so I need to cope with it by myself. A month or so back I took delivery of a super duper backpack sprayer which has an inbuilt battery and a little trolley on which to pull it. Great, I thought, not relishing the thought of lugging around 15 litres of weedkiller, not to mention the weight of the plastic carrier and inbuilt battery, on my back!
It said that it came charged, but I thought I had better check. Read the instructions, up to the point where it said ‘charging the battery’. Didn’t read any further, of course, no need. Found all the correct holes to push leads into and, hey presto, a constant green light lit up, which the instruction booklet said meant that the battery was charged.
Okay, so I put some water in it. Needed to check that all the seals were tight and there were no leakages… Now to turn it on. Oer, nothing but a high pitched whining noise. Quickly turned it off. Perhaps I needed to turn the pressure knob up? Tried that, still no joy. After checking the ‘trouble shooting’ section in the instruction booklet, I discovered that the high pitched noise was indicating that the battery wasn’t charged. ( I could have seen that, if I had taken the trouble to look at the battery level dial – ho hum.) Oh, buggerations, I thought just my luck to have a faulty battery charger.
I had resigned myself to phoning the ebay supplier the next day when I heard my neighbour in his shed next door. Er, Andy, I said, do you think you could help me? He too, at first, was puzzled by the constant green light when we put the battery on charge. That is… er…. until he .. er.. read further into the instructions. At some point further on it said, “sometimes the charger will show a constant green light when it is on standby” (i.e. not charging). Say no more!
Last year, another neighbour, another Andy, funnily enough, promised to cut my beech/hornbeam hedge for me each year if I would lend him my cutter for his hedges. I was thrilled because my only means of cutting my hedges was with the hedgecutter attachment on my strimmer. The petrol strimmer, with this attachment on the end of its long arm, is very heavy and beyond my powers to use for more than 5 minutes at a time. So I readily accepted his offer.
(Starting the strimmer also seems to be beyond my powers at the moment. Twice this week I have been all set to strim off the paddock as it has been two weeks since the buttercups had been sprayed. But could I get it started? Nope.)
Anyway, not liking to be beholden to people, the independent creature that I am, I decided to buy a battery operated hedge cutter so I could cut my hedges when I wanted. After humming and haaing over two, I settled for the Bosch.
It arrived yesterday, and late last night I started to read the instructions. Er, not a good time to attempt to read instructions! Looked at the diagram and learned what everything was and where it all was. Now, how do I charge the battery? Read the instructions and it said ‘press the battery unlocking button to remove the battery’. Eh? Went back to the little diagram. No, I wasn’t imagining things… no ‘battery unlocking button’ was shown on the diagram. How could they miss that off ? Mmm, I thought, why don’t they get a woman to write the instructions? Then, and only then, we might be able to understand them!
After a good night’s sleep I picked up the instructions again. They were no further help than they had been the night before. So I had to guess that the red button above the battery was what was needed to remove it. Wrestling with the cutter on the floor for several minutes I managed to, finally, unlock the battery and put it on charge. Hurrah, I thought, another battle won!
Next job this morning was to do some washing, as I see that insertions on Ebay this weekend are foc. Want to clear out office clothes from my wardrobe and this is a good weekend to sell them.
What’s that on the washing machine? A red light that I haven’t seen before? It’s not clean filter or empty water tray (it’s a condenser drier). Er, clean condenser? What’s that? That’s new. Now, where is the instruction manual? Oh, clean condenser every month? I didn’t know that. Only had the drier 18 months. What’s that? Failure to do so could result in a malfunction. Oh dear.
Another five minutes wrestling with the drier this time. It’s in a corner, up against a cupboard, so there is a finite angle it has to be in, in order to pull out the long condenser drawer. I won’t go into details here about the amount of gunge there was in it and how it blocked up the bath plughole.
Lesson is to read instructions from beginning to end, and then again. I wonder if I will next time?