The demands made on Hubby since he’s been on leave have made him increasingly frowny, due to my to-do list, to ensure that, now he longer lives at home during the week, he doesn’t escape certain male domestic responsibilities, especially as he no longer doesn’t even get to put the rubbish out. More on that later. ‘The List’, in fairness was only written as an aide memoire, a brief reminder to the two of us not to waste Easter leave when so many small, niggling domestic jobs could be getting sorted. Unfortunately, what neither of us took into account was a serious of unfortunate events, which would put pay to the other tasks that had been so patiently waiting. It all started a few mornings ago after I’d flushed the loo. There was the usual din that a macerator lavatory makes as the monster inside it chews up whatever the person has just evacuated into the bowl. It grinded and shuddered; splashed and chomped and then, as I washed my hands, it began to whine. Quietly at first, like the soft hum of a few summer bees, but then the hum became more of a high pitched tone like that of a lone mosquito. I walked back into our bedroom where Hubby was enjoying the first sip of what he hoped was going to be, a mugful of tea. “Toilet’s buggered”, I said as I lifted the duvet to get in beside him. He lay his mug down. “What exactly do you mean when you say that the toilet is buggered? Do you mean broken?” “I think so”. Hubby groaned. “What’s the big deal?” I asked, “You’ve become a dab hand at mending it. It breaks all the time. I never thought it bothered you.” “I hate it Alice. I despise it. I loathe it. I find it an experience of such appalling disgustingness you just cannot imagine. It revolts and repulses me. It’s nauseating and makes me heave. The last thing I want to do now is leave my warm bed, my hot wife, my even hotter tea to immerse myself up to my elbows of familial effluence, especially as I had plans to.., well do any of those things on the list other than this!” He threw the duvet back with a force and drama appropriate to his abhorrence of a malfunctioning, macerator toilet and stormed out of our room. Five hours later, having employed my pretty, flower patterned hammer, my torch, my ladle and my kitchen tongs, not to mention my rubber gloves and, having emptied the airing cupboard of several dozen, clean, warm fluffy towels, he found the offending article. A Chanel lipstick. “Yours I presume?”, he said, brandishing the offending and now rather filthy, if not half chewed, article at me. “That’s where it went! Yes, it is mine, but I can assure you that under no circumstances, not even when I’m really mad at you, would I throw one of my best lipsticks down a loo bowl just so that it would make you clean it out. That would be very cruel indeed.” He flushed the chain again. “I’m not happy with the seal on the jubilee clip at the back. Just popping to the hardware store. Back in a jiff”. “Where’s daddy gone?” asked the Red-Head wandering in. “To buy a jubilee clip sweetheart, he won’t be long”. She looked surprisingly delighted and sat on the outdoor step waiting for him to come home. When at last he ambled back up the road, she ran over to him. “Can I see it dad?”, she said, grasping a paper bag out of his hand. She removed from it a coil of metal with a key at the end. “What’s this?” she asked, most disappointed. “It’s a jubilee clip poppet”. As they walked through the front door, tears ran down her face. “What’s the matter darling?”, I asked. “I thought daddy had gone to buy a jubilee clip?” “But he had”, I explained, “You saw it”. In a little embarrassed voice, hidden into my neck , she explained that she thought the clip would be red, white and blue, maybe have the picture of a diamond Queen on it and would look nice in her long hair. Bless. A bit more grinding and groaning later and that was just Hubby - and the bathroom was finally, fully functioning once again. My kitchen utensils weren’t though as, with wrinkled nose and held at arm’s length, I dropped them into the bin. “Will they get recycled?” I asked Hubby. “Don’t ask me, the whole recycling thing is an utter mystery to me.” Since Cornwall County Council in their infinite wisdom has decided to provide fancy boxes for every resident and change collections days and times, some towns have gone into meltdown. Don’t get the residents started on overflowing dog-poo bins and long grass in parks. That service seems to have been abandoned. It is a hornet’s nest of dissatisfaction around here. And, as no-one seems to know exactly when refuse and recycling day is, bags of rubbish are put out in the morning and brought back in again, uncollected in the afternoon. Hokey-cokey for refuse. In out, in out, shake it all about. We didn’t even receive one of these new, black boxes and I had to purloin one from dad, who doesn’t really ‘do’ green. One morning, as ever in my dressing gown, I heard the rumble of the rubbish lorry. Opening the front door, I chased the recycling lorry down our road heaving fistfuls of recycling bags as I ran. “Yoo-hoo”, I called, “Please take my bags”. “Can’t love” said a bin man, “We are refuse, not recycling.” “But yours looks like a recycling lorry. There are huge pictures of glass and paper on the side of it”. I pointed. “That’s just advertising the service love. We don’t touch that stuff”. What a load of rubbish, or not, as the case may be.