Owning a house is like painting the Forth Bridge. The work never ends and your wallet is always open.
As a rule of thumb there’s always something tugging at your sleeve saying “fix me”. The windows fitted in 1992 before you bought the place are leaky, water drips through the kitchen ceiling and the toilet won’t flush.
People who can mend things have my utmost admiration, it’s one of the reasons I married my wife. Vacuum cleaner not picking up? She has a look on YouTube and fixes it. Sealant perished around the bath? She cleans it out and calls a plumber to apply the new stuff.
We all have our talents. Hers is stuff that saves you a small fortune in repair bills and decorating fees. Mine are cooking, shouts and murmurs.
Last year I nailed the perfect chicken tikka masala from scratch. It wasn’t cheap, have you seen the price of fenugreek these days? And I also invested in six metal skewers from a very nice pan shop to char the chicken after it has marinated in the masala sauce overnight. Nom nom nom.
But last week our bath plug was blocked with foot-long strands of hair from our teenage daughters who wash it with bottles of angels’ tears most days, or at least that’s the relative cost of the incredibly specific brand of shampoo and conditioner they insist on. Believe me, it’s a dealbreaker.
Even that shouty Barry Scott off the telly couldn’t Cillit Bang all that lot away so my wife improvised and vandalised one of my precious metal skewers by bending it in half and yanking out 3lb of hair from the plug hole.
The water runs fine now but chicken tikka masala’s off the menu until I buy some more skewers.
Also, thanks to Rapunzel #1 and #2, their discarded hair wraps itself around the vacuum cleaner’s twirly brush like a boa constrictor, strangling Mr Dyson’s greatest invention with flowing locks with the relative strength of spider silk.
Still, one more week and they’re back at school. Getting them out of bed at 7am, dressed, fed and there on time will be a (pardon the pun) wake-up call that nobody wants to hear. There will be screams. Good luck.