Friday, 24 April 2009



Our television was born a whopping 30" state-of-the-art Panasonic in 1991. Its wealthy owners (friends of ours in Tokyo) palmed it off on us 10 years later when we moved to Japan and it happily travelled back to the UK with us a few years on from that. But for a while now, it's been deciding to give up the ghost. First turning green, then yellow, then sparkly multi-coloured psychedelia.

We'd decided to wait 'til it really did die (credit crunch and so on). And we don't watch that much TV in our household, or at least, the children are only allowed to watch their mini set upstairs, with carefully vetted DVDs and no weird screen effects. Husband downstairs, meanwhile, doesn't care what colour the sport is...

My mother was visiting when hubby put the kids in front of a DVD DOWNSTAIRS. "How can you let the children watch that screen!" intoned mother-in-law, with carefully controlled politeness. "You wouldn't want to ruin their little eyes, now, would you? Come, children, let's go and read a book before you go blind!"

("Told you not to let the kids watch this TV!" I hissed as I walked in from hanging up my coat, just back from an appointment.)

"I'm going to give your wife a new flat screen for her birthday!" announced my mother later on. "Why?" answered my husband, pride bruised.

He soon warmed up nicely to the idea, though. Mother-in-law promised to match what she'd paid for her new top of the range 35" flat screen. Husband went straight on-line to check prices, then drove off to a local hypermarket with the kids where he (apparently) stood transfixed watching the football on the display screens.

Now, the old set was next to a fireplace we'd ripped out of a load-bearing wall we were planning to take down. Or rather, next to the hole where the fireplace used to be. For a year we'd stuffed furniture in front to hide the damage, waiting to decide what we could or couldn't afford, not wanting to spend money plastering needlessly. The gaping bricks had diven me mad: pretty obvious behind the silly bookcase. Being the one at home all day looking at it, I'd have emptied my last coins to block it up. But we ride on mutual decision-making in this family, so I'd closed my eyes and soldiered on.

Back at the ranch, or the TV retailer, my husband made calculations and weighed up value-for-money, the way men do. As a result he purchased a 50" flat-screen Panasonic display model which had never been used but had 15% off. It has all sorts of fancy acronyms as spec which I don't understand, not least some measurement of how quickly pixels renew the image so you don't blink and miss Tiger Wood's best shot (or something).

"Right!" says my husband, eyeing the mammoth cardboard box propped up in our hall with more than immense satisfaction. "Let's get that fireplace all plastered over nicely so we can get this beauty set up in front! You call the builders?"

...I tell you, MEN!


  1. What do you mean - "MEN!"??

    All you had to do to get that ex-fireplace hole plastered over was to arrange to get a new telly. Why didn't you think of that before?


  2. Thanks, Robert, spot on! - poor ignorant wench me for not realising it sooner!!!