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Byline: Lynne Barrett-Lee

I'm sure it's just down to some divine balance mechanism, but, oh my giddy aunt, it's been a frustrating week. Started with our electric garage door, which, for reasons best known to itself, has randomly decided to start playing a game of upsy-downsy.

It began several days ago, now I come to think about it. There've been at least two occasions when I've unexpectedly found it up rather than down. Well, not so much up as coquettishly half-raised, in the manner of a flirtatious Can-Can dancer, offering a glimpse to any passers by (which there aren't many thankfully) of the wares arrayed enticingly within.

Course, I blamed myself. I'm 1a woman. That's what we're best at. But even with all those pesky X chromosomes sloshing about, I'm not that daft. Third occasion, I clicked.

Then there's the persistent dribble. Oh lordy lord, that dribble! It's from (I think) the replenishment tank which (I think) is something to do with the boiler and is (I think) next to the one that leaked last year. And, oh my days, it's been keeping me awake. Not just because of the noise - it's right by our bedroom window - but because one thing nights do spectacularly well is magnify. So by 4am I have the whole scenario sorted in my head. The constant waterfall undermines the foundations so completely that one minute we're fine, the next we're properly listing, and next up we're swallowed into the bowels of the Earth, the victims of our own sorry plumbing-based laissez faire. I was much the same about the crack in the first home we ever bought. I still can't say 'subsidence' without blanching.

And let's not even venture onto the computer on which I'm typing. It's getting old and I'm on borrowed time, clearly. I know because when I tried uploading my last 1,247 photos this morning, it proper wheezed and made that terrifying 'thonk' noise.

Which has sidetracked me from what I really intended moaning about this week, which was - before the bi-polar door thing reached meltdown - the business of things just being daft.

Which came about because on Saturday, in our local (which shall remain nameless in appreciation of their excellent steaks), they've invested in some really silly plates. They're all at it these days, aren't they? Reinventing the wheel, crockery-wise. The sustainable wooden trug, the slab of slate, the teeny lidded copper saucepan, the chips in a tin bucket, the user-unfriendly bowl-inside-another-bowl. Sheesh!

And our pub, keeping on-trend, has some stupendously dysfunctional new 'plates' . Though a better term might be 'concave-edged, non-equilaterally triangular eatages'. They probably aren't called that, but what they ARE is incompatible with cutlery. You put your fork down and - kazam! - it's on the carpet in less than a second, the act of placing it at any point along the three sides available being the equivalent of propping a javelin against the side of a children's slide. Or, indeed, the side wall of our sinking house, for that matter. And it's not just forks, either.

Knives, too - it doesn't discriminate.

Except perhaps towards cutlery made of rubber, given the friction coefficient. Which I imagine someone will invent very soon.

And there were more things, I realised, sent to try us. Wrap dresses, for instance.

Incompatible with any normal human function bar standing stock still, legs together, indoors. The holes in espresso cup handles. Why are they even THERE? Except for the use of five-year-olds who, let's face it, don't do coffee. Glass foundation bottles with tops you can't remove - invariably the premium ones, ensuring at least a fiver's worth of slap will forever be lost to you. Very large jars of any condiment that says 'use within six weeks'. Onesies. Those destabilising (and useless) 'bottom toning' shoes.

I could go on, and would have, had it not been for the domestic dramas. Apart from anything else, there's a HECK of a lot of wine in our garage, which I'd like to hang on to, assuming we don't float away.

But all will be well. A man called Andrew is going to come and fix the door for me, and two others - Alan and Alan - are en route to address my persistent drip. So some things do work. Glorious Google, for example. Hurrah - perhaps the balance is tipping back in my favour. Rather that - relieved sigh - than the house...


Course, I blamed myself. I'm a woman. That's what we're best at
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Feb 16, 2013
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