Oops! Too late, I'd already started without you.
Yes, you heard right.
Bloody ink cartridges!
'Oh lord, he's off again,' I hear you say, ’On his bloody soapbox!’
And you're right.
Off again, that is.
Not that I'm one to complain as you all well know.
It's a rip off really isn't it?
Say what you like about bankers, but we all knew they were out to fleece us didn't we?
It was expected.
The same sort of three card trickery employed by the government as Cameron, Blair and any number of EU commissioners smiled falsely at us whilst promising the world on one hand and taking at least twice as much off us with the other when they thought we weren't looking.
Corporate and governmental robbery.
We're used to it.
But ink cartridges!?
Perhaps I should explain the reason for my dissatisfaction.
Now that I'm chair of Castle Writers in Dudley, oh - didn't I mention it (coyly examines the end of his fingers, breathes nonchalantly on his nails and buffs them on the lapel of his jacket) I thought I'd told you of my elevation to the ranks of über committeedom, but no matter, it's not important, really - I took on the responsibility of creating a newsletter. You ought to read it, it's very good. And there lies the flaw in my reasoning.
You see you can't. Can't read it, that is.
‘Why ever not?’ and you do have a reasonable query there, I must admit.
The answer to your very sensible question is simple my friends.
It won't print.
I lovingly formatted it. I selected the correct words and phrases. I collated the same in what I perceived to be a reasonable and understandable order. I arranged photographs. I saved the final result.
I purchased some slightly heavier than normal paper to give it that quality 'feel'. None of your 80g/sqm rubbish, some real pucker 120g/sqm stuff - never mind the quality, feel the width. Lovingly and with a tenderness that I rarely display I loaded said pulped tree into the printer.
I shot the cursor across the screen and selected print from the drop down menu, set the quantity to twenty, the colour to colour (as opposed to b/w), portrait, A4.
The preview, pleasingly, looked exactly as I expected the finished masterpiece to look.
With a flourish I pressed 'PRINT.'
I made a cup of celebratory coffee and fiddled about on Facebook. In the bedroom I heard the satisfying chuntering of the printer -printing. (It's wireless you see - clever, huh?)
Some time later, by now alert with caffeine I went to retrieve the documents from the outfeed tray.
Two pages successfully printed. Eighteen pages with ever decreasing colour quality as the blue cartridge had obviously expired. What should have been blue was striped. Green was yellow as the two colours obviously fell out. Other shades in the indigo spectrum failed spectacularly.
Oh dearie me! Or words to that effect.
Fortunately I had a spare blue cartridge.
After freeing this shiny new plastic lump from its bondage - it was shrink wrapped to within an inch of it's life - I replaced it.
Now call me naive, but I never considered that if the blue cartridge had failed then the yellow and red would not be far behind. And before you say it, I am aware that the technical terms for these colours are cyan and magenta but if yellow is still yellow then I'm going to call the other two what they actually are as well.
So now I have four pages of as previewed newsletter and thirty six sheets of A4 trash.
And for some reason only one spare red cartridge. Why no extra yellow? No idea.
I ordered some more from the Internet.
Just in case.
And a black one. Why do black ones have twice the capacity? That's not fair surely?
Not genuine ones you understand, let's face it who in their right mind would pay those extortionate prices?
Pleasingly they arrived the next day.
Happily I replaced them. Well, not happily in all honesty. I struggled through the blister pack and the bloody awful shrink wrapping once more. And what's with the plastic sticky out bit that you have to lever off to get to the inky bit. Are the manufacturers aware that half your bloody fingernail goes with it?
But replace them I did.
All of them.
You don't catch me out twice, no siree!
The yellow didn't work.
Good Copy Town 4 Bin Filling United 56
Oh dearie, dearie me. Or words... you know the rest.
I took it out and shook it. No, I don't know why either.
I replaced it with the spare that I had so shrewdly purchased and selected,1, as my copy quantity.
See, I'm learning.
Select, 19 copies.
After four pages the red cartridge gave up the ghost.
Home team 9 Rip off bloody con merchants 71
In a fit of what I can only describe as pique I opened the printer lid, tore all of the mocking rainbow of hell from their housings and threw them in the bin.
I paid through the nose at PC World for the pucker, real McCoy, genuine article.
Still the same packaging problem, but no matter. The end result would surely be magnificent.
And it was.
For a time.
You see a genuine ink cartridge contains as much fluid as a fruit fly has semen.
So no, you can't have a copy of the newsletter, I'll put it on the website later.
I was going to say that there was an upside, that at least it saved trees.
But then I realised that's not strictly the case.
Half of the Amazon rainforest is now in my waste paper bin!