* Prices may differ from that shown
There are some pretty sure signs that you've hit middle age. One is that you utter the immortal words 'well, it's just all noise and no tune'. Another is that you say 'ooo, lovely!' in a genuinely thrilled way when being presented with a cup of tea. But the real nail in the coffin is ownership of a defuzzer.
A defuzzer is also known as a de-bobbler and it is a little hand-held device than you run lightly over woollen clothes (or any fabric, really, as long as it's not delicate or sheer) to remove those annoying little bobbles that appear whenever there is friction on fabric.
It is comprised of three blades that whizz round a circular orbit under a mesh guard. Behind this is a chamber to collect all the fuzz and bobbly bits. The idea is that you run the mesh bit lightly over your clothes and you will gradually remove all the fuzz, making them look much tidier in the process.
My defuzzer is pink and white and runs off two AA batteries. I don't remember ever changing the batteries so it's obviously quite a power efficient wee beastie. When turned on it is pretty noisy and becomes even more so when you give it fabric to munch on. It vibrates slightly in use (oo-er) and is enough to make your hand feel a bit tingly if used for prolonged periods of time.
In use I'd describe it as reasonably efficient. It won't remove all the bobbles in one go and areas like the sides and arms of jumpers will require quite a few sweeps to get all the fuzz off. I've found that it's best to lay the clothes on a flat, padded surface like a sofa or armchair and then sweep the defuzzer lightly back and forth. If you press too hard the blades catch bits of the cloth and can make small holes in the fabric. This has happened to me a few times - thankfully not on any expensive garments - so it's worth being careful and not applying too much pressure. It's also a good idea to check the garment before you use the defuzzer; it will remove bobbles and pilling but if there are any loose threads it will munch these up and possibly unravel quite a lot before you can get it stopped.
On mine the chamber that holds the fuzz takes ages to fill up, which is just as well as it's really fiddly to remove. A combination of brute force and ignorance usually does the trick but it means that often the big pile of fluff that you've accumulated goes everywhere and is a bit of a bugger to clean up.
Now, that's pretty much all there is to say about this gadget, but I've thoughtfully compiled a handy quick reference guide for using one.
~*~Things you should NOT do with a defuzzer~*~
* Shave with it. My brother, who has jam for brains, once tried this. I found his mangled upper lip hilarious but he was rather less impressed.
* Attempt to give the dog a quick trim with it. Much annoyed barking will ensue.
* Use it as a milk frother for cappuccino. Laudable lateral thinking from my mum, but the result was an abject failure.
~*~Things you should DEFINITELY do with a defuzzer~*~
* Remove all the fuzz from the little chamber and stuff it into your nearest and dearest's bellybutton in the dead of night. You can make them think they've turned teddy bear when they wake up.
*Have a go at grating cheese with it. I've never tried it but I suspect the result would be spectacular (although possibly not in a good way).
*Trim nose and ear hair with it. Not on yourself, mind: that might hurt. No, this is where you experiment with aforementioned nearest and dearest.
~*~Price and availability~*~
I have a theory that no-one ever actually buys a defuzzer; they just appear in your house overnight on the eve of your thirtieth birthday, along with the first few grey hairs and a vague sense that you should know more about pensions than you do. I don't, therefore, know how much mine cost. A quick look on t'internet has told me that you can procure the very same one for £6.99 (plus postage) from Amazon which is a bargain when you consider all the years of defuzzing you'll enjoy.