When did a 'simple' battery change become a two-hour ordeal?

A few weeks ago I had a Land Rover Defender on test. Despite its 1940s driving position, I loved its character and the fact that the new engine, from the Freelander, gave it a bit of modern engineering to go with the ancient body.

However it was not all progress. Charging its flat battery was an ordeal that would have horrified anyone used to the mechanical simplicity of an early Land Rover. I flattened the battery by leaving the lights on – or rather by putting the lights on without realising it. Parking in daylight, I must have knocked the lever for the headlights, which is next to the ignition key.