Herself leaves me a "note" like a contract drawn up by a particularly paranoid American lawyer, in which she suggests, (if I'm feeling up to it), I might, (for example), remove wet clothes from the washing machine and hang them in the specified place, or, (if the action mentioned in Section 1 is impossible), I could feed the cat (but only) if I go to the shop and buy either (a), wild red salmon, or, (b) sardines in vegetable oil (not tomato sauce), and, (assuming I have gone to the shop), a six-pack of lager and a large bottle of (sugar free) 7-Up.
At the bottom of the note it says: "P.T.O."
On the other side, in alternating red ink and blue ink, it continues with a suggestion that (if I was really feeling fit) I might (a), hang a rack of kitchen implements on the wall, (b), put the missing hardboard backs on the cupboards beneath the sink, and/or (c), put longer electrical flexes on the two side lamps.
While the cat is sucking up great gobs of wild, red salmon in the other room, I sit at the dining room table twiddling with electrical connections.
There is something bred into me about electricity that means that even though the whole project is entirely disconnected and not even remotely near an electrical outlet, I am still being extremely wary. I inspect the two-core cable critically, finding a little nick in the insulation which means I'll have to cut that piece off for safety and reconnect the lampholder. As I'm twisting the screw into the "Live" terminal, there's an unmerciful shrieking twin blast that rises me at least six inches out of the chair, scattering screwdrivers and screws and electrical cables everywhere.
I open my eyes and see the "New Message" symbol on my mobile phone, resting on the table.
It's a note from Herself.
"What's for dinner?" she asks.
Grumbling, I send back:
"What are you making?"
I turn back to the scattered bits and pieces, pick up the screwdriver and start attaching the "Neutral" wire. Five seconds later the phone shrieks twice and I nearly bite off the end of my tongue in fright.
I read the dinner menu suggestion and instructions as to where I can find the ingredients. I send off a terse "Alright."
My fingers drum on the table. Two more shrieks from the phone announce the inevitable:
"Are you okay?"
I'm switching off that bloody phone before I do anything else in this house.