Friday 29 June 2007


This morning I was woken by a call from Mum. As I was croaking 'Hello' she angrily launched into an obviously rehearsed speech about my not allowing her to have her bath replaced by a shower cubicle. She sounded very worked up. She'd been up all night thinking about this.

Only, of course, I've said no such thing. In fact I've been suggesting the shower idea for about 2 years now. She always scotched the idea until her neighbours had the work done a couple of weeks ago. Now, it seems, she's all for it. Last week I phoned the builder who did the work next door and asked him for an estimate. I relayed the news to Mum that he can't fit her in before October. I suggested getting another guy in who might be able to work sooner, but she wouldn't have it. She was happy to wait.

Four days on, this has somehow twisted into me refusing to allow her the shower cubicle. She has entirely made up a whole conversation and it worries me that in her fantasy I play the role of the bad guy. It doesn't augur well.

We fell to talking about how she's going to fund this project. She announced that she had an account containing a figure over £117,000. I told her that this was unlikely, given that her total savings last year came to less than half this figure. She attempted to read out her bank balances, but couldn't read the same number twice without adding decimal places. When she read the bank sort-code as a balance, I told her to put the account information away until I could come visit.

Tonight she just rang up again to say: "Well, it seems that I'm bankrupt!"

Friday 1 June 2007

the lights are off but somebody's home

"I turned the bathroom light on and suddenly all the lights went out!"

[this happens every few weeks - the wiring in the apartment is abysmal - and every time is like the first]

"Not again! Did you flip the trip-switch back up?"
"Yes, I did that and it all came on again."
"Ah, that's good. I'm glad you've learned that you can fix it on your own."
"Oh yes. I did it all by myself..... But....the kettle was off, the fridge was off, all the lights in the flat were off. I couldn't get the television to work..."
"Of course, Mum, but at least you knew you only had to flick the trip-switch to get them all back, didn't you?"
"Well, I went and got D [the Warden], and he showed it to me, and turned it back on for me."
"Ah... I thought you did it yourself."
"No... And do you know, even the washing machine stopped!"
"Well, of course, Mum. If a light blows, the trip switch acts like a fuse and stops everything working. But you only have to open the cupboard and flick the switch up again. It's very simple. I'd hate for this to happen at the weekend or an evening, when D isn't working. You should know how to fix it yourself by now."
"Well, yes, I told D how I'd remembered how to fix it and how I'd flicked up the switch. He was really quite impressed with me, I think."


[choose the true version of events from those above for tonight's star prize]