Item 1: Soak your nuts

Another yellow sticky note to add to yet another list at Fortress H...

Another yellow sticky note to add to yet another list at Fortress H... - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Gentlemen, have you soaked your nuts? Steady - it's just another strange to-do item at Fortress H. Neil Haverson explains...

Mrs H's lists are legendary. But even I was amazed when we sat having coffee in a garden centre the other day. She dived into that cavernous hold-all she calls her handbag, and from one of the many pockets she pulled out a sheaf of notes the size of a small paperback and began hunting through them for the list of what we had to buy.

Over the years I have become used to seeing anything up to half a dozen lists scattered around the kitchen. As I am quite forgetful at times I am encouraged to play the list-writing game. I have been supplied with a pad of sticky notes and if I mention something I must remember to do Mrs H nags me until I have committed it to paper.

At the last count there were four of Mrs H's aide-memoires in prominent places around the kitchen. There was a list of gardening jobs to do including 'Feed Azaleas', 'Do apple tree and Bamboo'. I'm sure that last one was to motivate me with the prospect of getting the loppers out.

There was a note containing the names of people to whom Mrs H owes a phone call or an email. And one saying: 'Order pyjamas'. I have an online account with the particular company so I knew I'd get the summons.

'NEYULL! Are you on the computer? Could you just…?'

Beside the fridge is a notebook in which we are supposed to write anything that needs to be bought. It's mainly groceries but does have other memory joggers such as 'My face cream' and 'Ed Sheeran CD' – that's probably a hint for her birthday.

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I am constantly harangued for not keeping this up-to-date.

'We've run out of broccoli! Have you written it on the list? Oh no you haven't! I keep telling you, don't wait until we run out; put it on the list when we're getting low!'

That's all very well, but when I'm frantically slicing the last carrot to get it in the saucepan the last thing on my mind is adding to the shopping list.

Before we go to the supermarket there is a planning meeting. From the notebook Mrs H compiles a shopping list.

'Ah we need cheese.'

'Er…I got that when I called into Tesco's on Tuesday,'

'How many times have I told you to cross things off the list?'

Last week I spotted a couple of Mrs H's kitchen notes that really had me guessing.

One said: 'Soak nuts'. That drew my knees together.

Mrs H devours information in magazines and newspapers, no doubt this was something she'd come across that would enrich our lives. Apparently daily portions of nuts are good for you and consuming 20 grams a day means you are less likely to suffer a fatal condition such as a heart attack or cancer. It transpired Mrs H had read somewhere that nuts are more easily digested if soaked first.

Since then a small bowl covered in cling film keeps appearing in the kitchen. In it is a mixture of assorted nuts soaking in milk.

The other note said: 'Grape under the fridge'.

I was puzzled. Could this be some sort of game? Was this a form of Cluedo she'd invented?

Mrs H did it in the kitchen with a wok.

Perhaps I was supposed to come up with the next clue.

I was about to write: 'Easy peeler in the microwave' when she appeared and explained.

'Oh, I was preparing some fruit yesterday when a grape rolled under the fridge. I forgot it was there until just before I went to bed. I couldn't be bothered to look for it then so I left myself a note.'

Plenty of fruit is yet another Mrs H's healthy options. I suppose I should pay more attention to her advice. In fact, I'm surprised I haven't seen a strategically-placed note... 'Neil, have you soaked your nuts?'