Wednesday, July 8, 2009

An unscheduled birthday!

Welcome home . . . did you have a wonderful holiday, despite the high temperatures and the humidity?
Whilst I don't doubt that you've been suffering, please give a little sympathy to what we, in London, have been enduring whilst you've been away. To have heat and humidity on holiday is one thing. To have temperatures in their mid-thirties in Central London is quite another.
You relaxed . . . we roasted!

After three days of soaring heat . . . blinds pulled down . . . Rupert in constant need of a damp sponge . . . I was having a chat and a cooling drink with Anna. She was full of enthusiasm for a recent acquisition she'd bought to counter the temperature. Anna had purchased an air cooler. And not any old air cooler. Her model, which was was operated by remote control, filled her flat with gentle sea breezes. Delicately scented breezes, she told me, that were cooled by an internal refrigerator element. It even, she added proudly, had a built-in negative ion generator.

My knowledge of ions is limited to the fact that the negative ones are said to be good. Are the positive ones bad? I suppose they must be. But don't ask me what an ion is, I haven't the faintest idea.

This air cooler sounded exactly what Rupert and I needed.
I went on-line . . . I ordered an air cooler . . . and, within three days, a large box arrived.

It all looked so simple. Once out of its box, the air cooler stood discreetly against the wall . . . nothing showy . . . nothing complicated. I decided to dispense with the remote control (the instructions were a little complex), all I needed to do was to put a couple of small batteries into the control cabinet, fill the tank with water, plug it in . . . and my hot and humid flat would be transformed!

Half-an-hour later, although the batteries had been simple to install, and the refrigeration unit easy to unpack, I was a little baffled by the control panel. Gazing at its complexity I was reminded of the flight deck of a large aircraft. There was no doubt that this was a multi-talented air cooler. There was a small screen for the date . . . another for the time . . . there was an alarm (why would I need an alarm?) . . . and a countdown (countdown to what?) . . . together with a confusing number of alternative choices. Very tentatively, I tried to change the date . . . but, with everything flashing disconcertingly, I quickly abandoned the attempt. I would seek advice in the morning.
Rupert and I retired to bed, leaving our beautiful, but inactive, air cooler standing quietly in the hall.

There was a tremendous thunderstorm in the night and, unable to sleep any longer, we were up at six-thirty. As I walked out into the hall, I wondered if the storm and the humidity were causing me to suffer aural hallucinations. Surely I hadn't left the radio switched on? What was this unexpected music?
Then I recognised the tune . . . a loud, if rather tinny, rendition of 'Happy Birthday To You'!
It wasn't my birthday . . . my birthday was several months away . . . what on earth . . . ? Slowly, my ears guided me to the source of this unexpected, unwanted greeting . . . my previously silent air cooler!

Anna had never mentioned that it was musical! I looked at it in shocked alarm. Had I activated this outpouring by mistake? Was this what the flashing lights had been trying to tell me?

It was fast becoming clear was that, having started its musical outburst, the air cooler had no intention of stopping. Even worse, I knew no way of silencing its celebrations! In desperation, after the fifth untimely birthday greeting, I wrenched opened the back of the control panel and pulled out the batteries.
A blissful peace descended on the flat!

I know that you'll be very busy on your return, but . . . should you get a spare moment . . . and should you feel more able than I to handle an all-singing, non-dancing, well-meaning but misinformed air cooler . . . well, needless to say, I would greatly welcome any help and advice you can offer!