Buying a new vacuum cleaner…

IT NEVER ceases to amaze me what gives us chaps pleasure. Last week I was on holiday and took the chance to visit the London International Music Show at the ExCel Arena. It was packed with drums, guitars, amplifiers and strange nerdy creatures just like me. I once made the mistake of taking Mrs Nurden to this some years back. She put on a brave face but was clearly bored out of her brain, desperate to find a stall selling cross-stitch patterns. They don’t do that at music shows.

This year’s was a massive affair. Among the attractions was a scooter made entirely out of Vox amplifiers (I have no idea why) and wind tunnel model-maker Mark Edgington who made three black guitars out of carbon fibre. They were truly awesome machines but with a £3,000 price tag I made my excuses and left. The only things I had to show for my visit was a bag full of glossy brochures which might come in handy one day, a pocket full of free plastic plectrums (or should that be plectra?), two rolls of “gaffer” tape and an amplifier.

I haven’t broken the news to Mrs Nurden yet but it was an absolute bargain. It is to be delivered tomorrow. But it is nothing compared to my ultimate new toy – an all-singing all-dancing vacuum cleaner.

Because of an administrative oversight Mrs Nurden’s holiday did not coincide with mine. She had taken the week before off. Sometimes that can be beneficial. When we are both home she finds lots of things for me to do.

Last week I stayed in bed until I had read the newspaper, padded about the house in my pyjamas and drank copious cups of coffee. But there was a snag. She had insisted I do the Hoovering. To be truthful I don’t find this a chore. It brings out my Freddie Mercury side as I shove the vacuum cleaner around the house humming Queen tunes to the CD. But last week I became a little too carried away and broke the handle of Mrs Nurden’s trusty Dyson. A spring fell out, disappeared under the cooker and rendered the machine useless.

When my attempt to bodge it failed I strode off in search of a replacement. The Dyson had done us proud and Mrs Nurden had always sworn by it. “It’s bagless,” she’d tell visitors, whether they wanted to know or not. But  I was never convinced. The plastic handle always seemed a bit flimsy and I could never get to grips with the non-retractable wire which I kept running over.

Selecting a new machine was a challenge. I had no idea of the latest range or that Dyson are no longer the only bagless machines on the market. We are now the proud owners of a cheaper Mach 6 Vax which is a stunning silver machine with a chrome handle, an extension hose which reaches to the Moon and a retractable cable. But the main selling point was its headlight.

“Look at this,” I told Mrs Nurden as I manhandled it out of its cardboard box. “It has a headlight!” “Why?” she asked. “So we can see under beds and beneath wardrobes,” I explained.

She seemed unconvinced by this technology. The only problem is that as the new machine weighs the same as a baby elephant she says it is too heavy and I must do all the cleaning from now. That is fine by me. I just need to take another driving test…

(First written February 2009)

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