How to Open an Umbrella Without Trapping Skin!

It’s another typical UK summer day of drizzle and threatening clouds. I often wonder exactly how a cloud is threatening… does it push you into a corner, raise a fist and whisper menacingly that “you’re going to have it if you don’t pay me – I’m going to rain on you like you’ve never been rained on before!”

Sorry, literal head working on over-drive again!

Back to the weather.

For our school walk, we have the choice of getting wet or using an umbrella and trying not to poke each other’s eyes out with it. Our only one is a colorful golfing umbrella which usually ends up over the buggy / stroller because some idiot (that will be me then) threw the rain cover away during a rare, over-enthusiastic cleaning day. So me and the boy get wet unless we persuade dad to have the toddler at home, in which case me and the boy only get half wet.

One of the difficulties is that, for the next year anyway, boy is a few inches shorter than me so to keep him dry I have to crouch under the umbrella, or to keep me dry he has to hold it up with a straight arm which apparently starts to ache after a few minutes – strangely!

A couple of days ago I bought a new umbrella from one of our ‘pound’ shops which is one of those brollies that fold up to fit in a bag. I thought this would be useful as he could store it in his school bag. I’ve had one of these type of things before and I can’t wait to see him use it… ha ha (read evil laugh).

Steps to Opening an Umbrella

There is some kind of hidden art to successfully opening any umbrella which I don’t seem to have the knowledge of. Mind you, I struggle to open those little paper cocktail umbrellas… So after years of study here’s what I have discovered works – or doesn’t.

First there’s the little cover thing that comes off fairly easily but never goes on again properly.

Then there’s the button to get the pole to extend to full length. I love pretending this is some kind of ninja crazy weapon and spin as I open it, making the sound affects – you know the one’s – pow, bang, kerpow. (I know it’s not just me)

Then there’s the weird push it down metal thing that you hold until the frame slips over it and then strategically remove your finger / thumb BEFORE it gets trapped in the mechanics. Let go too early and the umbrella won’t open, too late and Ow. BIG OW!

And then you have the locking method – hopefully it’s just a pop out button but maybe it’s the dreaded pin threaded through the hole.

Then there’s the holding it in the wind, at the right angle, not causing blindness in people walking by, etc.

Rain stopped and it’s time to take it back down again. How often I end up with the pole shrinking first while the umbrella is still open… Ah memories.

So that’s why I will let the 11 year old have the new crazy multi-button umbrella and I’ll stick to the golfing one, which even the toddler can open.

Scaling Up

On a larger scale there is the slight problem of the outdoor dining umbrella / parasol. Opening one of these has all the same problems as it’s smaller mobile cousins except for the added bonus of lots more weight and a pole that is stuck in the center of a table – just out of reach.

So, when choosing your sun-shade, it’s worth thinking about how often you will open it or will you leave it open, are you strong enough, tall enough, agile enough or can be bothered.

Thankfully, there are easy methods of umbrella opening mechanisms available – such as crank handles, pulleys and even electronic push-button openings.

I’ve covered these in my waffle to my article – 10 Best Garden Umbrellas / Parasols for 2017 – as well as giving some review examples with different opening mechanisms. I know I say it as shouldn’t but it’s worth a look if you are planing on buying a new shade – click here!

I’m now off to buy a big packet of sticking plasters / band-aids ready for when number one son returns from school with a pinched finger or two.

Bye for now


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