Thursday, March 16, 2017

Terror in the Night, Or O. Readers' Further Adventures.

“With voices together we sing”        

            One the most annoying Christmas novelties in the British Isles was Billy Bass. Billy was an automated fish head that was stuck on the wall, whose mouth moved as he sang in your face: We wish you a Merry Christmas...
            For many it was a good jolly joke on Christmas morn. They were taking an ax to it by the end of the day.
            A similar product was the large snowman that people had in the gardens during the festive season. Set off by movement - e.g. you walking by, or even going to knock on the door in a visitation work - it would suddenly go “Yo Ho Ho” and sing something equally annoying. I remember one garden had about twenty of these things in it, and they were all triggered at one second intervals. The melodious sound of a round blasted away to annoy both the occupants and the rest of the street.
            Anyhow, why I am going on about such things, when, as some here know, I don’t even do Christmas?
            Well, we bought something of similar ilk that can actually annoy a household all the year round.
            It was this clock that had different bird songs for the twelve hours on the dial. The idea was that budding ornithologists could learn the various bird calls, to then identify them in the wild.
            In practice it never worked. We would recognize sounds sure enough, but never what they meant. Oooh - that’s the four o’clock tweet. Aaah - that’s the eight o’clock chirrup...
            It very quickly drove Mrs O mad so I took out the batteries. Ultimately the remaining battery for the actual clock mechanism ran down.

            So, dear O, please would I put a new battery in. Now, I thought she said put batteries (plural) in. The conversation later went, why would I say batteries (plural) when I meant battery (singular)? Response - Why would I put batteries (singular) in when you said batteries (plural)? It was one of those circular discussions that repetition somehow never resolved.
            Anyhow - I put the batteries (plural) in. The problem was - as well as the sounds of the forest at inappropriate times - I didn’t realize that the thing has to be set up to match the pictures on the dial.
            Thoughtfully the whole thing was designed to shut down at eleven in the evening and gives you peace until breakfast. Unless, of course you didn’t set it up and on a twelve hour clock it worked at all the wrong times. As happened here.
            In the middle of last night there was the mighty sound of what was possibly the mating call of the lesser spotted woodpecker, somehow mingled with the angry cheeping of another feathered friend.
            What? Hey? Huh?
            Mrs O dug me in the ribs. I told you not to put the other batteries in? But why I would I put batteries (singular) in when you said batteries (plural), etc. - the chorus started again.
            So I padded along the hall, taking care in my sleepy state not to fall down the stairs, and neutered the clock.
            Of course, no-one got back to sleep then. And guess what, dear readers, I am in the frame for that. So I sat down at the computer at some unearthly hour and battered this out on the keyboard.
            Anyone want a tweeting clock, to go with their Billy Bass?
            One not very careful owner.
            Going cheep...


  1. I like it!

    I once had the misfortune to work in a store that sold a 'hip-swaying Santa' that sang a song. I was working on the customer service desk and there was a pyramid of the things next to the desk on display. One was out of the box as the display item, as soon as the manager left the shop floor I regularly nipped round and turned the thing off! Very naughty I know but my sanity was at stake! After Christmas most of these items would come back as faulty and had to be returned to head office. Getting them to stop their 'hip-swaying' in a position that would render it possible to fit them back in the box was always a problem.

    I also have an alarm clock that plays bird-song. Ah yes... that's the lesser spotted 7am bird...

  2. Chirrup, chirrup 😂