A Word To The Wise

Last Thursday I went down the M1 to visit my old friend Elaine……who is not on t’interclacker so won’t be able to object to me calling her old. Ha !!

She’ll be 75 in a few weeks but I actually meant “old” in terms of how long we’ve been friends – over 40 years. She lived near me in Leeds back when I first met her and the family (3 girls and one boy), then moved to Wetherby and finally, she’s now on her own in Ruddington, south of Nottingham.

So it was an 83 mile drive down the M1 and because of all the 50mph sections, it took me a full 2hrs. I always try to get there for 12:00 so we can have a cuppa and a chat before going out to the nearby pub for lunch (The Old Colonial). This is part of the Flaming Grill Pub chain and I love it for the huge choice of good, simple pub grub and the fact they’ll make substitutions, within reason, to deal with my picky requirements.

As you can see from the photo, I had the fish and chips (incredible value at £4.99) and Elaine had the (look away now, Daphne) surf and turf combo. Yum.

Elaine At The Old Colonial

Back at her house we were having another cuppa and chatting away when I was startled by a noise over my shoulder and just a few feet from my head. Turned out it was one of those automatic air freshener dispensers which ejected a fine spray at a timed interval. Jeez. It certainly needed to do its job after scaring the **** out of me, I can tell you !

Anyway I regularly get those simple air fresheners where you peel off a sticky covering and then let them do their thing till the impregnated stick shrinks to a nubbin (Google it but PLEASE don’t look at the urban dictionary definition…..ok bet you will now) and they don’t seem to last more than a couple of weeks at best.

So I checked out this device and Elaine told me it didn’t cost that much and did seem to last for the 60 days it claimed on the box. I checked them out online and found they were only £6 at Tesco and as I’d be going past their big store at Seacroft on my way home, I decided to get one.

Skip forward several hours and by 6pm I was looking at the bewildering choice of “smelly things” in that Tesco store and decided to go with their own brand version of these automatic dispensers. It was a very reasonable £3 for the unit (inc batteries) and £2 for the can (or refill) of the fragrance.

I got two…..one for living room (lavender) and one for the bathroom (winter spice).

Now I (finally) get to the point. There were only 4 parts to setting up these units – the unit itself, the can of smelly fragrance and the two AA batteries.  Simples.  Who needed instructions ?

Not me, I’m a man….and I’m told this IS a man thing.

The unit opened up like an Easter egg, the batteries slotted into the two battery locations, the can slid into its cozy plastic bed and the unit closed up. After checking that the can nozzle was peeking through the hole in the unit, it was all done. There was a slider control on the side which had settings for “on”, “9 minutes”, “18 minutes” and “36 minutes” depending on how often you wanted the dispenser to activate the spray.

And this was where it all went wrong !

These time settings were in raised white lettering and as the unit was white too, it was very hard to see them. So after turning the unit on, I had it close to my face to read the options and to finally decide on which time to set.  A little green light had started flashing to indicate the unit was powered on but as I’d slid the control to the 36 minute option, I assumed (ha !) that I’d plenty of time to do a final check that the can’s nozzle was still lined up with the unit’s hole before deciding to place the dispenser up on a bookcase shelf.

Suddenly I heard a dreaded click as the clock-like mechanism inside the unit moved a cog on a notch which depressed the can’s plunger and….sprayed me with a controlled dose of lavender fragrance !  Thankfully it went onto my lower face and chest so my eyes were safe but being so close to it, I got a fairly concentrated shower.

I was glad I’d not picked essence of skunk as for several hours I was smelling like a field of lavender which really wasn’t all that unpleasant. So what had gone wrong ?


If I’d bothered to read the instructions I’d have seen that after the unit gets powered on, it will perform a spray after 30 seconds, presumably to let us know it’s working !

Yes, I was able to confirm my unit was working just fine.  And after about 40 hrs and 2 showers, I still smell of lavender.

So I suppose the moral of all this is that no matter how simple the setup of a device may be, READ THE INSTRUCTIONS. 

In the words of the great Del Trotter…….”you know it makes sense

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