"I spent yesterday fixing my toilet," explains my friend Johnno, in among the glamour of the Chelsea Flower Show. "I had to take off the cistern, then put on another one."
"Wow," I reply doubtfully, for although Johnno is a man of many talents, I hadn't previously understood plumbing to be one of them.
"But how did you know what to do?" I ponder.
"I watched a video. On YouTube," he adds, sagely.
It has to be said that videos from YouTube have turned out, over time, to have far more practical applications than mere entertainment. Gone are the days when our household computer history mainly consisted of trains crashing into cars on level crossings and Lolcats. This year alone I've fixed my silent telephone line, using just a video posted by a former BT engineer, which saved me at the very least the phone company's princely £130 call-out charge, plus avoiding that customary week without a telephone while I waited for them to turn up. "You CANNOT electrocute yourself fixing a phone line," YouTube man intoned cheerfully, and for some reason I was inclined to believe him.
So it's YouTube that pops into my mind after I have excitedly purchased a new Flexi Spray by Hozelock, recently awarded 2013's RHS Garden Product of the Year. It's a bendy extension sprayhead in their trademark cheerful sunflower yellow. The product looks great. The issue is this: I do not understand how to attach it to the hosepipe. I look at the hosepipe. I stare it in the eye manfully.
There is a bit of plastic (also yellow) called an "AquaStop" which acts as interface between award-winning spray gun and hose. But how to actually attach it? I can see it has tiny feathery surrounds that need to be pulled out, so I pull them out. And then I squash the AquaStop attachment on to the rubber with all of my weight. It doesn't go on to the end of the hose. Not even slightly.
And so I resort to YouTube. First I watch Hozelock's own videos, which are interesting but mainly concern themselves with technical capabilities, of which I'll only be able to avail myself after I get this small yellow thing stuck on to this hosepipe. Sigh.
In the end it is an Australian hosepipe company, operating under the YouTube moniker of HosePro, whose video saves the day. In a friendly Aussie way, HosePro explains, "Just cut the end of the hose straight, and pop in very hot water for about 10 seconds": so simple. The heat from the water makes the rubber expand and become soft, and the hose just slips straight on to the trademark AquaStop. Then the incredible spray gizmo clicks into that! And now we're talking.
And, in fact, spraying. While I try out the different settings, I realise there is a three-year-old in the vicinity who is itching to have a go. So much so that he puts his own shoes on, on the wrong feet. And then I get distracted by the phone ringing, and by the time I'm back the three-year-old is in sole charge of what is effectively a Giant Super Soaker attached to the mains. Great. He is in the garden and I can't get past him to turn off the tap because of the gigantic plume of spray. I tell him to come in. He says, "No, mummy, I want to water outside just a little bit."
I say, "Come on sweetheart, inside." And that's when he turns the hose on me. Inside the house. So I can now officially tell you that when used on a grown-up human being and a whole domestic kitchen, the Hozelock Flexi Spray deserves its title, because the whole lot was soaked in seconds. Mere seconds. So now all I need is a YouTube video along the lines of "drying out kitchen".
Four more from the RHS Garden Product of the Year shortlist
An expandable hose you can store in a shoebox. It expands as it fills with water and coils up neatly when you turn the tap off.
£19.99 on Amazon
Burgon & Ball compost aerator
A nice spiralling tool to turn over a compost heap for those who don’t want to trash their ski poles
Allett Complete Lawncare System
One classic English lawn mower, six changeable heads – for the utter lawn obsessive.
Range of prices, mowdirect.co.uk
Sneeboer Royal Dutch Hoe
I know many gardeners swear by these superb tools from the Netherlands, and this one is designed specially for women.
£49.95, harrodhorticultural.comReuse content