I proposed to Rose today.
She was so overcome she nearly fell off the kitchen worktop. OK, technically speaking she laughed so hard she nearly lost her footing, but that’s a mere trifle. It’s not like I propose to women every day. Oh, right, it’s true, I do sometimes. I proposed last week to the woman in Robert Dyas who showed me where the packs of wood screws were. And there was the lady at the Post Office on Saturday who told me that Second Class Packets were cheaper than Standard Parcels, thus saving me about £1.50, so my gratitude is understandable, even though my proposal was dismissed by a button push that resulted in the next person in the queue being called to ‘Cashier Number 3 please!’ (She’ll rue the day, you mark my words.) But how did I get here? OK, let’s rewind.
This afternoon, while she was returning the cooker top to its pristine condition with Flash, I regaled her with a story of my detective prowess in tracking down a ‘missing persons’ change of address for the Christmas Card List. My ineluctable powers of logical deduction were of a match for Mr Holmes, with the sole difference that I do not smoke a pipe, play the violin, or take opium. This is a prowess that women, being illogical and not very good at working things out, can only marvel at from a distance. Or in Rose’s case, about five feet.
As I reached the peak of my logical investigation into the Christmas Card List Missing Person Whereabouts problem, Rose determined that the kitchen cupboard surfaces required bringing up to scratch, and began the Flash Attack on the wall section above the hob. The action somehow reminded me that I’d intended to call on a ‘Sparky’ to repair the extractor fan and lighting unit above the cooker, which had not been working for some four or five years. I’d tried all the fan and light switches (I’m logical that way, you understand), and I’d even tried changing the bulb inside the lighting unit, having first checked that the replacement bulb worked by plugging it in to a table lamp (logical methodology is a characterising feature of us blokes, the logically deductive sex). The bulb worked, but the lighting unit didn’t. And as the whole goddam set of socket circuits were protected by the new RCD type circuit breaker mains box, the electrical flaw had to reside in the extractor fan and lighting unit. And being a Bosch, a replacement wouldn’t be cheap.
So there I was, remembering my plan to call for a ‘Sparky’ to come out, as even my renowned DIY skills recognised a boundary at things concerned with high speed movement of vast quantities of electrons. So I said, “I must remember to call for a Sparky to fix that extractor fan thing. I miss having the overhead light to help in photographing my periodic food porn creations.”
“Is it switched on?” asked Rose. That’s women for you, always asking questions that the Logical Mind has already discounted.
“Of course it’s switched on. The switch is behind the lowest drawer where the pots and pans go. It’s the same switch that powers the piezo on the cooker, and that’s working.” The piezo had not worked for over a year, leaving me to resort to a hand-held piezo gas lighter, until I discovered that a missing pot lid had fallen down the back of the lower drawer and dislodged the cooker plug from the wall socket. Piezo working = switch connecting power. Ineluctable logic, you see.
“Well, that’s low down,” said Rose, “and the extractor fan is high up. There might be another switch.”
“It’s not in the top cupboard either,” I announced with that world-weariness we Logical Supermen have to resort to occasionally with the illogical minds of women who’re not good at this sort of reasoning. “I’ve already looked.” And by way of confirmation, I opened the cupboard beside the extractor unit to show that there was only kitchen foil and clingfilm and bin bags there. No sign of a wall socket with a recalcitrant plug in it.
“Yes, but what about the bit above the extractor fan, behind the panel there?”
“OK, I could look there, but I don’t see why it would be there. I suppose I could go downstairs and bring up the ladder to have a look.”
Haven’t women heard of Health and Safety Regulations? The next thing I knew, she’d jumped up on the worktop by the cooker, and was striding across to the bit above the extractor fan.
“There’s a socket and plug up here.”
“Is it switched on?”
“Yes, but the fuse could have blown.”
“The fuse can’t have blown. There’s an RCD circuit breaker at the mains box. Fuses no longer blow.”
“Get me a 3 amp fuse.”
“I said get me a 3 amp fuse!”
I got a 3A fuse and an electrical screwdriver, and passed them up. She took the old fuse out, handed it down to me, which I accepted with that weary resignation we Logical Supermen reserved for those who don’t ‘get’ the Holmesian Methods. She put the new fuse in, plugged the thing in, then threw the switch on the lighting unit.
It lit up. The goddam thing lit up. She threw the switch on the fan unit. The goddam thing burst into life.
Momentarily thrown by surprise and the prospect of having saved a callout charge of at least £60 plus parts from a ‘Sparky’, I said “Rose, will you marry me?”
At this point she laughed so hard she nearly descended to the floor by gravity alone. I think this was her way of saying she was overcome by my thoughtful and considered proposal.
In the end, we decided to set up a business partnership, Joyce & MacPhee, Problem Solving and Detective Agency. If you have a guilty secret or a floozy to be tracked down, or a blown fuse, let us be your first port of call.