So it may sound like we're a bit gadget mad in our house but really we are just playing catch-up and we do tend to have spurts in buying gadgets when everything seems to come to the end of it's lifecycle all at once. So it's often the case that the vaccum cleaner will die at roughly the same time that the freezer conks out too and a week later it'll be something else... it's known as the law of Sod.
These all have to be replaced as they are, to my mind, household essentials of vital importance. However there are some gadgets that are there for the sheer pleasure of having them, and the Sonos is one such gadget.
We heard our first Sonos on a trip to visit husband's sister and her man in Yorkshire. It was obviously a fairly new toy for him too as he took great delight in playing what we now refer to as 'the Sonos game'.
'Go on, what song would you like to hear?' he asked. The normal response would be 'what have you got?' or somesuch, but this time an Apple Touch was thrust upon us with the request to 'put in any song you would like to hear...'.
Which we did - and miraculously said track immediately started to fill the house with it's melody. And that was it - we were hooked and what followed was two hours of trying to catch the thing out.
Now to some people reading this, they will know exactly what a Sonos is and how it works but for the uninitiated I will explain.
The 'Sonos' box is a speaker and receiver which downloads tunes directly from Napster (for which you pay a monthly subscription) and plays them back. By using a special handheld control or something like an Apple Touch, you can search for tracks or artists and create playlists so you don't constantly have to be fiddling around if you'd rather be doing something else.
We bought one for husband's birthday and (after a few false starts getting Napster to work, why are things never as simple as they are meant to be?) we now have 100,000 tracks at our fingertips. We have just the one box but you can add others throughout the house too. And for those of us which grew up with a Dancette and 6 inch singles the leap into the 21st century is not just the immediacy of all that music but, and this is something us children of the sixties have to understand, you don't actually own the music, but are just fleetingly downloading and playing a track from a site.
You don't own the CD or the vinyl or anything tangible like that. So even though it's a wonderful toy with a great sound, if you love something enough you will still go out and buy it to physically 'own' the piece. What it does do, if you like discovering new music or rediscovering old stuff, is allow you to trial out a far wider range of music than you would normally do without the cost - and that is something you can do, in the privacy of your own home.
Music can be streamed through a variety of music sites like Spotify and itunes too. Prices start at around £300 for the Sonos system. You can add your own stereo and your own speakers too - it really is that versatile.