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Notes: 30/04/10

Various items owned or desired by middle-aged Britons in a survey include laptops, iPods and games consoles.

Second most vital was the vacuum cleaner. These findings vividly exemplify the adventurousness allied to a sense of decorum and practicality for which the British are renowned. Hubert Cecil Booth, of Gloucester, inventor of the vacuum cleaner in 1901, splendidly showed both sides, developing his idea after sucking up dust from a chair through a damp handkerchief. He also designed and built Ferris wheels. Sadly, the vacuum's cable has been used as a murder weapon, but cordless robotic versions, pictured, are now available. The latest gives full rein to our twin traits, allowing you to log in remotely and drive it round the house while issuing instructions to the family through an inbuilt speaker.