Programming my new underfloor heating is proving to be a challenge. Something akin to University Challenge when the teams are all scientists, i.e. when we lesser mortals struggle to understand even the starter questions, let alone have even the faintest chance of getting any of the answers right.
It did not bode well from the start. The manual (54 pages packed densely with information, apparently translated from Klingon) opened by thanking me for choosing this heating, which it scarily described as "the new intellectual heating control system". Can you see already where this is going?
The Lovely Son, who doesn't remember that his mother was, for most of his life so far, the only person in his family who could a) read instructions, and b) follow them successfully, and who considers me a first rate dimwit, was co-opted to have a go at setting the programmable controls, after I had conceded defeat. He set to with confidence and a cheerful, optimistic attitude. I was relegated to reading aloud from the manual, although he forged ahead of me at first, leaving me at fig. 14 when he was at fig. 21 and getting testy when I failed to keep up. I noticed that he didn't actually listen to anything I was reading, but, as a bloke, why would he? Eventually, after a couple of hitches, and much button-pressing, he pronounced the job done, and we retired, smug in the knowledge that the bathroom floor would be toasty warm at our chosen times.
But it didn't quite work out like that. The bathroom floor does indeed become toasty warm, but at times of its own choosing, times that bear no resemblance to the settings we so laboriously programmed, and certainly not at that chilly point of a winter morning when stepping out of the shower is to be dreaded. Somewhere along the line, our combined intellects failed to come up to scratch; maybe it was phrases like "several common parameters are valid for all thermostat's operating modes can be set (sic) via item Settings and Limitation of the main Menu" or the fact that 'hot' was termed 'comfort' and 'cold' was termed 'economy' that did for us, or maybe it was just that the manual was genuinely impenetrable, but I noted that the Lovely Son did not volunteer to try again. Nor did I ask him, as I couldn't bear the thought of puzzling over all those strangely-worded instructions again.
The manual's back cover carries a helpline number. Tomorrow I shall call it and ask for help, confessing meekly that I am no intellectual match for my floor.