I blinked and pondered.

“the … um … rack over there.”

“hmmm. I’ll have to ask the supervisor. One moment, sir”

I blinked and pondered again.

“Really? I mean, it’s usually straight-forward. I hand you a pack of batteries and some money, you keep the money and give me back the batteries. If it helps, I don’t need to give you the batteries?”

“One moment, sir”

Shopping is usually To Be Avoided but as I required a new ironing board, I had no choice. When I bought a new kettle, I discovered a surprising problem. They are all essentially the same – cold water in, boiling water out – but you have to choose one and only one, so what criteria do you use? If you’re me, you fall for the hype – count the features and pick the biggest number, even though I have no use for any feature beyond the Boiling Water one. I ended up with a kettle that provides mood lighting for the kitchen. This is only really effective when the kitchen is dark i.e. when I’m not in it. I feel guilty leaving it on just for the cats to enjoy the pretty colours and so it’s an almost entirely redundant “feature”. Is something still a Feature if you don’t want it?

Choosing an ironing board proved even harder. I need it to be flat and a bit spongy. In many ways, a plank with a towel over it would be ideal. Fiona helpfully talked me through the options.

“You’ll need a taller one”

“Er … ?”

“So you don’t have to bend over so far. It’s better for your back. And it could do with being wider.”

“Um … ?”

“So you can do more at once”

“Ah. Oooo what’s THAT? Do I need one of those?”

“No. That’s a steam generator.”

“Doesn’t my iron generate steam?”

“No… well, yes…. but… look, you DON’T need one”

“But … the shiny?”


Off we went to Argos, filled in the form with the bookie-size pens and went to the counter. On the way, I spotted the aforementioned batteries.

“That’s fine, sir. I’ll just ring that through for you”

“Excellent. So can I have the … where are you going?”

“I’ll just need to check in the back. One moment, sir”

“For WHAT, exactly? You’ve got my batteries in your HAND!”

“One moment, sir.”

Finally getting home, I went Iron Crazy. I gots the flattest stuff you ever did see. I even ironed some hankies, just for the flatness.

The, in my opinion, unnecessarily three-dimensional cats have started shuffling nervously.