The Senior Cat watches almost no television. I only watch the first half of the international news service on a regular basis. Once in a very long while we might both watch a documentary. (The wonderful Global Village programme hosted by the outstanding Silvio Rivier is, sadly, no more.)
We have had the old remote control for four and a half years. The batteries have never been changed. (I know, I know but we really do not watch very much television.)
The Senior Cat sighed. He couldn't even work out how to undo the battery compartment. I managed to get it undone by accident. Mmm...flat batteries perhaps? It seemed logical but I was aware that the pressure pad was not working well either. The Senior Cat closed the battery compartment and neither of us could get it undone again. I even searched the internet for instructions on how to do it - to no avail.
Nevertheless the Senior Cat sailed off on his gopher yesterday morning. There is a specialist battery place about three kilometres away and he took the remote there. They, with some difficulty, managed to undo the battery compartment. They replaced the batteries with good, long-lasting batteries. The Senior Cat came home and tried the remote. It didn't work.
I said, "It's the pressure pad or circuit board or something like that."
He said, "I hope it isn't the television set."
After lunch I took the remote off to see if I could buy a new one. I went to the place where we had bought the television set. I arrived to discover it was no longer there. It had closed several weeks ago. I went into another shop and was advised to go to another place, "It's just along the road." It wasn't. I found a place which sells things similar to the place we bought the television set from. Oh yes, they sell remotes - universal remotes. I had done enough research to know that was probably the answer.
They had a really cheap one "but it might not work" the boy told me and a very, very expensive one which had to be hooked into the computer and a programme loaded. I shook my head.
Try the internet? No.
I rode to the nearest railway station and phoned the Senior Cat while waiting for a train into the city centre. I told him where I was going. He demurred but I said, "Patience."
In the city I went into the shop I was thinking about. I produced the old remote and told the boy with the wild haircut what I wanted. He nodded and his hand went out to a display of remotes. Without hesitation he took one and handed it to me.
"All you need to do is press a button," he told me. I looked at him. He repeated his remark and then added, "There are instructions inside."
I took the remote thinking, "If I can't do this then I know a couple of people who might be able to help."
I took the next train home and waved the packet in front of the Senior Cat. He slit open the rigid plastic cover and I took out the instructions while he put some batteries in. (And the battery compartment was easy to open.)
It was, of course, not a matter of "just pressing a button". The instructions were in such small print we had to find a magnifying glass to read them. I followed them. It still didn't work. I thought. I tried something different. The Senior Cat was trying to help. Eventually I sent him back to his shed. It was easier to try and work it out by myself.
I searched the internet. Ah. The wrong code perhaps? Because, no you did need to do more than press a button.
I punched in the code from the internet. It worked. We could now turn the television on and off and change the channels from SBS to Channel 2 (the ABC). There is no need for the commercial stations.
I haven't worked out how to get rid of the sub-titles yet. That doesn't matter.