I have never been much of a housewife. There are far more interesting things to do than dust and scrub. However, now and again I am moved to get out the Dyson and blitz. My desk tends to be a bit of a mad place, covered in paper, rocks, painting gear, books and other clutter. Occasionally, I carefully move the computer screen and vacuum behind it with the duster brush.
In the course of this rare housewifely gesture, I ever so slightly touched the cable to the screen, which promptly suffered a fatal arrest. The fact that we had been talking about replacing the computer for ages did not comfort us, as March is not a good month for extra expenses. Replacing just the screen seemed a waste of time, so we went the whole hog and invested in a new system. We reckoned we could still just about eat, even allowing for the looming car tax.
But then we failed to anticipate that practically the minute it was taxed, the car suddenly started pouring power steering fluid all over the place, necessitating the purchase of a switch and a hasty trip to the garage.
Neither did we see coming the day that we opened the fridge door to pull out the morning milk, only to discover that it had passed away during the night. That meant a knackered fridge and the attached freezer. Cue frenziedly eating up the frozen peas, chips and fish fingers that were in there at the time, and the designation of a shelf in the kitchen to replace what used to be the fridge until our shattered finances could rebuild sufficiently to cope with a white goods purchase.
The shelf on which the fridge goods now reside is placed high on account of having two cats and two dogs. All four are perpetually engaged in food surveillance, waiting for the inevitable slip – the cheese that doesn’t get put away, the shepherd’s pie left to cool on top of the cooker, the slice of cake that was left on the table because the phone rang just before it was to be carried away ….
All four animals have a wonderful health record, so the last thing we expected was the dog to go wrong. Our lovely, dippy Labrador fell ill just after the fridge died - we knew it was serious because he didn’t eat for two days. After a thorough examination, the vet detected the problem – a cut in an extremely private place that is normally protected by a fur sheath. While we have spent several entertaining hours trying to work out how on earth he managed to injure himself in this way in that particular place, the vet bill was less entertaining. Never mind – the seventy quid willy is now in tip-top condition along with its owner, and it was worth every penny to have him bouncing around at full strength after a worrying week.
Our last disappointment of the month did not involve a large bill. It involved The Hobbit. Having waited weeks for its release on DVD, we all sat down to watch it in the evening. Suffice to say that within half an hour of it finishing, it was up on ebay. It was not the first to be listed – ours was number 164, which suggests we were not the only family in the grip of major let-down. Oh dear – nearly three hours of poor characters, wrong tone, overdone special effects, bad screenplay and very little actually happening, has conspired to finish us off. We won’t be buying episodes two and three. Although we did like the eagles at the end.