I am a traditionalist, a fan of the familiar, old fashioned. I believe in the power of elbow grease and hold new, expensive, fancy gadgets in contempt.
That was, at least, until I met the iRobot. Robbie, (as we affectionately call him), has become our favourite new housemaid. Let me tell you why…
I consider myself to be quite house proud. I have had a cleaner every week for the last thirty years, the children and I spend weekends tidying and doing additional cleaning, and I like to think that my house would be classed as “spotless” if the cleaning police came round. I am lucky enough not to have a Mother-In-Law, but if I did I would like to think that my house would hold up to her scrutiny, her dragging an accusatory finger along the tops of skirting boards, her checking the paintwork for sticky fingerprints. That was before I met Robbie.
Part of my fear of new gadgets is the headache of opening the box and setting them up. I was DREADING working out how to set up a robot and tell it how to clean my house to my regular high standards. How wrong I was! Opening the box, plugging it in and reading just a couple of pages of very easy bullet point instructions was a breeze. To be honest, I had worked it out without the instructions, and my biggest delight was that Robbie arrived already charged and ready for action. Robbie positively leapt out of the box, jumped onto the floor and immediately got to work. He made lots of lovely, happy bleepy noises as if he was super pleased to discover that the carpet was actually really knee deep in dirt. Off he went, diligently cracking on with the task, all the while motoring around, getting into all the corners and religiously hunting down every spec of dirt. Robbie whistles while he works, and happily twirls around the floor like a finalist on “Strictly”.
After a quick spin on the carpet, we decided to test Robbie’s ability with other floor types. We sent him into the lounge to tackle a seemingly already spotless wooden floor. Boy, did he love that! He zipped around with ease, and quickly scurried off under the sofa in search of all the pet hair and dust that had apparently not been reached for months by a regular vacuum cleaner. No need to heave the sofa across to the other side of the room whilst dragging your clunky upright round the back and then lying yourself on the floor to reach under the very small gap between sofa and floor. We stood in the doorway, mouths wide open as Robbie slid comfortably under the small gap, emerging a few minutes later with a big smile on his face at all the dirt and dust he had found and eaten up. We left him to it, shut the door on the lounge and went about cooking dinner, although we had to keep going back into the lounge to take a look at him in action. His beeps and dance moves are just mesmerising. After about fifteen minutes we all went back in to find Robbie lounging in the corner. He was having a well -earned tea break, having long finished the job asked of him. The previously spotless floor looked different. My twelve -year old son, who would not notice if there was an elephant standing in the corner of the room, came in, took one glance and said, “Wow”. Praise indeed.
A bit later on Robbie moved into the kitchen, gliding across the flagstones, happily scooping up miniscule pieces of food and unseen dust, hair and general dirt. He took it upon himself to tackle the back door mat, which I thought would meet with calamity as he got stuck in engrained mug and rain water, but no, Robbie took to the challenge like a man and effortlessly swept backwards and forwards until the mat looked as good as new.
Having proved his credentials with the easy stuff we decided to give Robbie the ultimate test. A bedroom. A bedroom with a cream carpet. A bedroom with a cream carpet and a resident Persian cat with bright orange long fur that moults daily. A bedroom with a cream carpet, moulting ginger fur and a cat that lives solely UNDER THE BED. We all know the ultimate fear of what lurks UNDER THE BED. Hundreds of children’s stories have been written about this forgotten land. Whole eco systems involving spiders, dirty tissues, forgotten apple cores, exist there and remain untouched for years. My cleaner has never been brave enough to tackle this area, and largely because it remains unseen it falls into the “out of sight, out of mind” category. I myself have not ventured into this domain since we moved house over a year ago.
So it was with some sense of trepidation that I dragged out everything that is “stored” under the bed, set Robbie gingerly down on the carpet, pressed his “on” button, reversed slowly out of the door, closing it quietly behind me, leaving him to it, like a mum dropping their child off for their first day at nursery.
Downstairs, we could hear the reassuring noise of Robbie diligently tackling the task that had been asked of him. I was reassured at least that he had not got eaten by rats, or got snarled up in a tangle of spider webs.
I returned over an hour later. It was as if I had walked through the wardrobe into a different Narnia type land rather than my bedroom. The carpet was spotless, gleaming and covered in those lovely, reassuring, tram lines you see on a freshly mowed lawn at Wembley or Wimbledon. With some expectation, I crept up to the edge of the bed, carefully crouched down, raised the side of the duvet and took a glimpse under the bed. I literally gasped with excitement. The carpet was like new. Not a cat hair, spec of dust or spider web remained. I simply could not believe the results. And best of all, I had been downstairs watching episode four of the “Sewing Bee” on BBC2 with my daughter whilst Robbie had been tackling this most hated of jobs. I mean, who really has time, energy or inclination to grovel around under the bed week after week, rummaging around with the end of the vacuum hose, getting out of breath and red in the face? And why bother when you get Robbie to do your dirty work for you.
And now for the ultimate moment of truth. I opened the very easy to access drawer where all the dirt and dust is collected. I nearly fainted when I saw the results. The drawer was absolutely stuffed with disgusting pet hair. Not new and soft and orange pet hair, but old, grey, dusty pet hair that had obviously been there for some time. This was mixed into a delightful cocktail of regular dust, lumps of indistinguishable grey matter, clouds of genuine, actual dust, with a generous helping of human hair wrapped around the rollers. I emptied the drawer into the bin with one satisfying sweep of my arm, and then unpopped the rollers to untangle the gross human hair that had wound themselves around there. Gross but satisfying, like pulling the clump of hair out of the plughole.
And then the best bit of all. I pressed the “dock” button and Robbie scurried obediently off to the corner of the room, to put himself to bed for a well-earned rest after all his hard work, to quite literally recharge his batteries ready for a new day of dirty work tomorrow. I smiled appreciatively at him, gave him a little wink and like an over indulgent mother kissing their child goodnight, I silently whispered “Thank You” as I closed the door and let him sleep. My house is now truly Mother-In-Law proof. Like a dog rescued from the RSPCA, Robbie is a beloved member of the family, it’s hard to remember how life was before him and we are looking forward to all our happy times together in the future.
If you want to do one nice thing for yourself in these turbulent times, get yourself a Robbie. I guarantee you will not regret it. Shop here!
Also, we’re all very familiar with a Selfie, but how many ‘Floorie’s’ have you taken?… well here are ours!
If you’ve got an iRobot, be sure to get taking those ‘Floorie’s’ and upload them onto Twitter floorie!
Also, you could win a £20 High Street voucher, head over to our Facebook and tell us where these ‘Floories’ could have been taken!