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Making things flat

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flatA while ago, my mum bought my dad and I a book. Not any book, of course, otherwise it wouldn’t warrant a little essay. The book was called “How to Get Things Really Flat: A Man’s Guide to Ironing, Dusting and Other Household Arts“, and it went into the fine arts of domestic life from a man’s point of view. There was deep irony behind the purchase, natch – and its a phenomenon that is widely derided as a man’s excuse to sit around and play games all day. I’m half way through, and it all seems easy enough – just a bit of common sense, patience and thought, and you’re there. Patience and thought I have. It’s the common sense part I have trouble with.

The facts, I’m afraid, are simple: men in my family are next to useless at domestic tasks. I’ve no more confidence that I could iron a t-shirt than I have of ever loading a dishwasher correctly. Sorting paperwork moves me to distraction within seconds, and marshalling newspapers and other titbits into neat piles and cupboards is completely beyond me. And those settings on the dishwasher? No idea, despite having read the manual and been told countless times.

Chambers´ mopAnd it’s not as if I haven’t tried to be good at these things. I’ve tried to cook pizzas for Michelle – that’s about the limit I feel I can stretch to – and more often than not it’s come out over- or undercooked. And on one memorable night, burnt and upside-down on the oven floor. However, I can do complex tasks with great ease, and seem to pick up new non-domestic skills like they’re going out of fashion.

After 10 years of knowing me, 4 years of living with me and 3 months of wedded bliss, I think Michelle has given up any hope, in the same way that my mum and countless other women in our family have given up hope. I stand by the facts: some men just can’t make things flat, no matter how hard they push.

Moving In – The Aftermath

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I take it back. There are two things that are great about moving house at Christmas. moved.jpgFirstly, it’s the ultimate way to keep in trim while loading your body with turkey and chocolate. For the two weeks after we moved, there were endless tasks to be done – informing all the companies and friends of our new address, buying essential domestic stuff, putting up pictures, mistakenly knocking holes in the wall, desperately trying to cover them up before anyone noticed, that kind of thing. It’s a veritable workout every day. And secondly, the sales are on. On the strength of this, various things have arrived throughout the last few weeks – a fridge, meaning that we don’t have to suffer the mini-fridge any longer; a tumble dryer, meaning there won’t be clothes draped around everywhere; a bed and mattress, meaning that we can sleep (and what a bed it is, too); curtains for the entire place; and, for vanity’s sake, a surround sound system and a new piano. Amusingly – or not – this has all coincided with Revenue and Customs deciding they’ve forgotten to tax me sufficiently – and adding £500 to my tax bill for the next couple of months. Better stay in for a month, I guess…!
So, the house is very nearly done. We’re still after a dishwasher, and then there’s the garden to consider. Honestly, this house-buying malarkey is a task and a half. But, in a couple of weeks, we’ll be ready to announce an event that people have been asking about ever since we announced we were moving – the house-warming! As we’ve all grown up, maybe we’ll have Spritzers and canapés instead of beer tubes, silly hats and pizza. Probably not, though…

Freak Dishwasher Accident

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There’s been a fair bit in the papers in the last couple of days about the freak dishwasher accident that killed that woman in Scotland (here’s the BBC News story). I was reading an article in the Daily Mail all about it yesterday – “very rare accident”, it said, “only one other case known in existence”, it said, a twelve year old boy back in 1997. Not so, I immediately countered – I had done exactly the same thing in 1985, while playboxing with my dad! I still have the amusingly placed scar on my right buttock. Sensing fame, I’ve duly fired off a couple of emails to the newspaper and the seemingly pointless Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. I expect to be on This Morning with Fern Britton within days.