Following the instructions

Following the instructions.


Our boiler started playing up last week and out of the blue an instruction manual was thrust rather rudely into my hands - why and what for? God only knows. I pointed out that it would be for the best if we called a technician with the appropriate boiler repairing certificates and he would put it right in a jiffy. Oh no, this was a far too sensible idea wasn’t it, all I got in my ear was - “Come on lazy, the callout charge will be a fortune, it’s probably something simple, just check the manual.”

Hell’s teeth, the instruction manual was about an inch thick and after reading the introduction I just gave up. But she wouldn’t let it lie would she? After much slamming of doors and muttering under her breath she finally announced “I’ve fixed it.” Did you darling - that’s nice, was my droll rejoinder and then she rather rudely shoved the manual under my nose making me spill my coffee - “Look it’s really simple, just use this problem solving checklist and it covers everything.”

So for the next 2 minutes 11 seconds I pretended to read the manual, but in truth just flicked the pages noisily and sighed before she snatched the manual back from me in a rather aggressive fashion I thought. I reckon she should go to night school and study boiler technology or something, because she clearly has talent in this area.

However, I concluded that discretion was the better part of valour and decided against saying anything; you know, just in case there were sharp implements anywhere to hand. It also struck me that most men will rarely ask for advise or guidance in almost anything they are involved in. For instance, I can be completely lost driving around an unfamiliar town and yet will never actually stop and ask anyone directions. Much better to shout loudly at the lady on the SatNav and blame your passenger(s) for insisting you take this route in the first place, even if they didn’t.

Yes, instructions can be confusing, imagine the size of the instruction manual if you bought one of them there iPads. I was watching a glossy ad on the television the other day singing the praises of the latest upgraded version of the thing that I have just been talking about. It turns out that this thingymajig is amazing, you can do all sorts of stuff with it, you can read books and er, er, lots of other things as well.

I wondered out-loud if I should get one for Christmas as she won’t let me anywhere near hers - cue loud and prolonged laughter, so much so that I feared that she could have an accident of some sort. What pray, is so funny about that I ventured. In between sobs and hoots, her reply was most unkind, something along the lines of “You can barely find your own arse in the dark with both hands, so what makes you think that you could even switch the thing on?”

I have to say that I am getting a little narked by hers and other so-called friends and former work-mates attitudes towards me and new technology, furthermore it is my choice to be so bad at this sort of stuff and after that revealing outburst I am seriously considering going on a proper course as it can’t be that hard, and then I can join the massed ranks of all you information/technology - and social media ‘platform’ bores; come on, what do you think? Anyway, most of my pals are probably just bluffing and deep down they are about as clueless as me, but crucially they know a few key phrases and talk with fake confidence in a loud and irritating manner. That’s it, what we need is not education, but The Bluffers Guide To New Technology. This is a book that I will write myself, I could make a fortune.

Your bottle of wine - cork or screw top?

Of all the pressing debates and concerns of modern life at this present time - I’d like to highlight a subject that has been concerning many of us for quite some time now. I talk of course of the vexed argument, nay debate, over whether bottles of wine should have a cork or screw-top to facilitate actually drinking the stuff. Let me make my position plain. Up until recently, I was a cork snob, believing that anyone contemplating buying a screw-top bottle of wine should burn-in-hell and would probably have several visible tattoos.

Then just recently, as I have become somewhat enfeebled in middle age I have taken to complaining as to the effort it takes to extract a cork from a bottle of vino and the damage it’s doing to my shoulder. Furthermore, if you have a bottle of white or indeed Rose wine that need instant ‘chilling’ via your freezer - I pity your efforts in yanking the aforementioned frozen cork from the neck of the bottle without violent oaths and fist waving being the order of the day.

You see dear reader, I believe that unless you are an over-muscled hunk, alas much favoured by young women nowadays, I defy anyone to deftly remove a common cork from a bottle without stress. Anyway, before all you ‘corkists’ start complaining, I have to say that your traditionalist argument has lost some of its impact because natural corkage is giving over to plastic ‘look alike’ corks, which if you think about it, rather misses its own point. And so I am impelled to say that unless you have the forearms of Rafa Nadal - a lovely, gentle, screw-top experience is the future when imbibing vino. What do you think?


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