Figures of Speech HOME





The month 12

Scrapbook 12

Road to nowhere

Backup hell

Beyond analysis

Winter solstice

Judge Judy

Betjeman Christmas

Veiled Modesty

Energy made easy

Nobel Ceremony 2016

Schober? [9]

The month 11

Scrapbook 11

Word Of The Year

Man and machine

Cognitive dissonance

Schubert trajectory

No change

The month 10

Scrapbook 10

That man again

Freedom of speech

A victim remembers

The conquering hero


The Man in Black

Cox and Box

Bees pulling strings

Those formative years

John Dalton

The grape harvest

Babi Yar

Bible studies

Jacobin Conspiracy [6]

The month 09

Scrapbook 09

Wrong again

That Sappho thing

Rustling inspiration

Channelled speech

The houseman's friend

Wishful thinking

Churchill in Zurich

Franz's belljar

The other Spaun

Walking with Walser

Stephen McIntyre

The month 08

Scrapbook 08

Arthur Szyk

Climate alarmism

Citroen DS23

Artificial Intelligence

Portrait of the age

Shipwreck [7]

The month 07

Scrapbook 07

The Bastille Spirit

Classic books


Devaluing the family

Andrea Leadsom


Habsburg cradle

UK politics

The month 06

Scrapbook 06

The Chosen Ones

Referendum mop up



Last words

Gretchen am Spinnrade

The alien hatches

Carbon dioxide


Electoral Commission

Sahra Wagenknecht

The green tick

The month 05

Scrapbook 05

The Sun Queen

Before Schubert [5]

European wars


Saving time

EU referendum

Protestant Ethic [9]

The month 04

Scrapbook 04

Cherry blossom

Dark chocolate

Out of the swamp

Richard North

Do not sleep

Imperial chemistry

Lili Marleen

The Habsburg lip

The month 03

Scrapbook 03

Bedsheet, spreadsheet

French dodo

Lenten thoughts

Heinrich Heine

The great survivor

The Swiss muddle

Hans Erni

Switzerland defused

Tristram's bad start

Montségur [5]

The month 02

Scrapbook 02

Frosty wreck

Language lab

Referendum reloaded

Graven images

Die Forelle [5]

The grass on the weirs

The month 01

Rabid lexicography

Not like us

Language lab

IKEA's loose screw

Nathan's rings

Brief Encounter II

Mohammed, not my prophet

Lunatic calendars

Hidden Hemingway

Sharing the risk

Bathtime for St. Kevin

The dismal science

The below above

Sanitised swearing


Rockers do it better


Updated content

Contents list

Site search



Schubert collection

Home | 2016

The houseman's friend

Posted by Thersites on UTC 2016-09-17 14:02.

The wonderful Gtech AirRam floor cleaner (MK1) has lots of advantages: it's light, has no cable and, er… it's light. Oh, and it doesn't have a cable. And by the way it only does floors, so shelves, books, picture frames, doorways, curtains, skirting-boards etc. have to be left to the seven maids with seven mops. But unlike them, there comes a time when it needs to be emptied – not a task for amateurs.

FoS image, size 708x473

This illustrated guide will help.

Before starting you need to organize some protective clothing, preferably a hazmat suit, but as a minimum a high-performance respirator filter mask and disposable overalls. If you skip the overalls you will need a complete change of clothing and an extended shower with assisted scrubdown. You would be well advised to inform your neighbours to stay indoors and keep doors and windows closed whilst you are working.

Lift the top off the dust container.

The reason that this one is so full is that, knowing what emptying it will involve, the user's motivation to even check whether it needs emptying is very low. The AirRam won't tell you when you need to slip on the protective gear, either.

FoS image, size 708x489

Remove the bin from the machine.

FoS image, size 708x359

A screwdriver is useful for poking around to loosen and prise out the compacted mess.

FoS image, size 708x333

The filters in the lid can be released using a screwdriver. The state shown here is after a considerable amount of 'tap clean' has taken place. At this point, fans of the theories of Kurt Gödel can ponder on the used of a (proper) vacuum cleaner to clean a vacuum cleaner.

FoS image, size 708x284

The AirRam is marketed as being particularly good for houses with pets: 'powerful rotating brush bar also makes it ideal for pet hair.' Well, this one has never encountered a pet, not even hamster. Moulting humans seem to be a bit of a challenge, though. It's not as though it's being used in a hairdressing salon.

FoS image, size 708x328

A few minutes of scissoring (right) show that the 'rotating brush bar', cannot simply be cut free.

FoS image, size 708x264

Bring on the tools again. Gtech gives us a clue about what we have to do next: the four screws that secure the clamps that hold the 'rotating brush bar' are of the commonly available crosshead type, whereas all the other screws on the machine are of the newer Torx type, drivers for which most housemen will not yet possess. So someone in Gtech has foreseen what the average houseman will need to go through.

We note that in the Mark 2 AirRam, Gtech has designed the brush bar to be popped out on the press of a button, another admission of the frequent need to get up close and personal with this thing. We'll spare you the rest – that's quite enough filth for one day.

The entire procedure took about an hour. Bag change on our normal vacuum cleaner: about one minute without protective clothing, with or without moulting or hamster.

  • Now we've emptied and cleaned it, will we ever use it again? No.
  • Why did we even bother to clean it? Why not just throw it away? A good question. Nobody's perfect.
  • Will we get the Mark 2? No. Why reward Gtech for the terrible Mark 1 design?