The sound is of a swirling flock of baleful banshees. The wall-shaking, tooth-grinding roar of Rolls-Royce RB211 engines thrusting a 747 along the runway, pushing it into the sky.
Clare is now the proud owner of a 780 watt Black and Decker Dustbuster (pictured), which gets to the parts where our wonderful robotic Roomba falters.
Yes, the stairs are once again fit for human traversal.
The instructions are, as is traditional, utterly opaque. It turns out that the thing comes with 14 shove-in attachments for either orifice. Yes, you can both suck and blow with this thing, although you are warned to keep yourself well away. We eventually figured out the minimal subset of functionality we actually needed. Here's the product spec.
In other news, America is meanwhile getting on with the job of electing a President ... and I'm about to return to Proust.