Mrs H can find plenty to keep me busy

Sundays at Fortress H have taken on a new perspective. With Brat Minor's landlord installing a washing machine at his gaff, the collect-and-deliver laundry service has ceased.

Sundays at Fortress H have taken on a new perspective. With Brat Minor's landlord installing a washing machine at his gaff, the collect-and-deliver laundry service has ceased. He still turns up regularly for a feed but uses the bus for one of the journeys so I have more time.

I thought this would allow me to have more of a day of rest. You know, six days shalt thou labour and all that. But, of course, there was one small obstacle; Mrs H. She has a built-in sensor which alerts her if I'm not doing anything particularly meaningful.

“What have you got to do today?” she will ask as if she is seeking ways to lighten my load. In fact, she is probing to find out whether I can be pressed into service. I know where she's coming from so I reel off a list of tasks that I have charged myself with in the hope of deflecting any “could you just do…” jobs.

The trouble is, my list seems pathetic and she easily destroys it.


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“I was going to wash the car, prune that shrub that's running a bit wild and then the shed could do with sorting.”

“I'd have thought there are more important things to do than pruning. And the shed's been in a state for so long it can wait another week. I thought you ought to clean that blocked gutter and tidy up the front garden. It's so embarrassing if anyone comes round.”

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“Yes dear.”

Last Sunday I was enjoying a leisurely breakfast. The sun was shining; I had a mug of tea, fresh toast and the paper. Bit of early Sunday morning music in the background; I was content.

Then Mrs H appeared.

She plonked herself down opposite me. In her hand was one of her infamous lists.

“Right,” she said in her “this is non-negotiable” voice. “We really must sort out carpet for the bathroom. While I get ready, you can measure the bathroom and toilet? Oh, and the spare room; we may as well get it all laid at once. We need to de-flea the Mog and the pots need watering - but not while the sun is on them. And we need to ring Brats M and M to find out if either of them is coming over and whether they need feeding. And if they do, we'll have to get some new potatoes.”

With that she swept out of the room. Me? I was beaten into submission. There was nothing for it but to draw breakfast to a rapid conclusion and get on.

By now Mrs H was like a galleon in full sail. She seized the phone and rang Brat Minor to find out his movements. There followed harsh interchange between mother and son.

“So are you coming over at lunchtime or tonight?” Mrs H demanded. “Oh, so you're not coming over at all. Well, how was I to know that's what you meant. When you said you didn't know whether to come now, I assumed you were deciding between now or not at all. There's no need to shout!”

Attention soon focused back on me. Mrs H steamed back into the room.

“And if you snore like you did last night you can sleep in the spare room. I kept kicking you; you stopped for a bit then off you went again. I came down in the night and I could hear you in the kitchen! I've never heard a row like it! You'll have to stop having alcohol.”

“So the ring didn't work then?”

“Phworrh!”

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that my snoring has become a bone of contention. I had been pressed by Mrs H into buying this ring which works by acupressure. It has been quite successful. While not eliminating it, Mrs H had reported that I am much more subdued. However, it seems that after a night of indulgence, I'm unstoppable.

We had been to a party the evening before; good food and a sherbet or two, hence the snoring. The problem is that I snore when I sleep on my back. I fall asleep on my side so how on earth do I stop myself flipping onto my back?

Mrs H has a solution.

“What I'm going to do,” she rasped, “is get one of your old pyjama tops and sew a button in the back. That's the old-fashioned remedy. I can't have another night like that.”

Until I confessed to my snoring in this column I hadn't realised just how many couples are dealing with this nightly situation where one of them makes a noise like someone sawing wood. I've had several inquiries asking where to obtain the ring. Those I've spoken to are desperate to try anything to get a good night's sleep. And so far all those guilty of snoring are men.

I have to discipline myself to sleep on my side or I won't be able to wear shorts this summer. I'll not just be exposing my legs but, if the kickings keep up, seriously bruised legs.

t The Silent Knight sleep ring is available from Boots or log on to www.silentknightring.com

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