Fortress H: Don’t you dare dent those loo rolls...

PUBLISHED: 06:52 18 November 2017

We can officially confirm that this is not a picture of Neil Haverson bursting with joy at finding a pile of undented toilet rolls...

We can officially confirm that this is not a picture of Neil Haverson bursting with joy at finding a pile of undented toilet rolls...


Everything must be proper, undamaged, and in its proper place at the home of Mr and Mrs Haverson. Even the loo rolls. Especially the loo rolls. Neil Haverson reports from Fortress H...

I think it was Jeremy Clarkson who I heard say there is nothing more uncomfortable than driving when you need to go to the loo.

He is dead right. I remember being on the road to Beccles when the bladder announced it wanted emptying - and soon. I whizzed into a local supermarket and rushed to the loos – only to find a sign announcing they were closed.

I know not how I made the rest of my journey without an “accident”.

I was bordering on the urgent the other day. Fortunately I was at home. Now, I know Mrs H regularly accuses me of not listening. A charge which I vehemently deny. However, on this occasion I will concede that I was not fully tuned in.

Apparently she yelled: “Do you need the loo? If so go now, I’m about to pour some bleach round the bowl.”

It is important to respond quickly to a Mrs H question or the query is delivered again at increased decibels. So, having not absorbed the original question I had a 50/50 chance of giving the right answer. Regrettably I plumped for the wrong one.

“No thanks,” I sang out.

Of course, within minutes I needed to go. As soon as I opened the door I sniffed the bleach and realised it would be crossed legs for a while.

When the all-clear was sounded and I headed for relief, only to find my way blocked by Mrs H. She was sitting cross-legged on the floor outside the loo surrounded by toilet rolls.

“You’ve done it again,” she said severely.

What? Couldn’t be the old chestnut about not taking more care with my aim. I hadn’t even been yet.

“You’ve squashed the toilet rolls,” she went on.

I’d been shopping, spotted loo rolls on offer and grabbed a couple of packs, thrust them in the trolley then hurled them in the boot of the car. As a result they got a tad bent out of shape. This really irks Mrs H.

“Now the middles aren’t round and they won’t roll easily - and I want the spares to look nice on the holder.”

“Does it matter? I enquired as she squeezed them gently to get them back in shape. “We’re not saving the middles for a Blue Peter project are we?”

I admit I have been warned in the past about this. It’s okay when Mrs H is with me but if I fly solo there are loads of shopping rules I have to remember.

If you spot me in the supermarket fondling the canned food, it’s because I mustn’t pick up a tin that’s got a dent in it. It’s the same with cartons. If one has been biffed it doesn’t make the trolley.

I am trained to be alert for packets that are not properly sealed and containers that leak. Squidgy tomatoes are a no no, and I have to look at the ends of baby corn to make sure they’re not turning brown.

Having been in trouble for returning with a broken egg, I open the box to check for cracked shells. Then, in case the crack is out of sight, I follow Mrs H’s cunning tip. Turn the box over and see if there is any tell-tale discolouration on the bottom.

Even our favourite pizza has to be scrutinised to ensure they haven’t stinted on the cheese topping.

As for easy peelers, each one in the pack has to be inspected. And tell me, how do they manage to get one in every pack that goes rotten before the rest?

There’s all that plus checking the salt/sugar content and working out the best value of something per kilogram.

Finally everything is through the till and in the trolley. Out comes the credit card and hallelujah, I’ve actually remembered to bring the voucher for £7 off when you spend £70.

And the bill comes to £69.30.

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