Daily Archives: March 3, 2009

Screwdriver Hand

I have discovered a completely new ailment that can only affect husbands and partners of women who live within a drive of an Ikea store.

So that’s every bloke and a hell of a lot of the women in Europe, then.

I have called this affliction Screwdriver Hand. It doesn’t yet appear on the lists of any cutting edge medical research, so I am saving the Medical  Research Council several million pounds with this discovery.

The symptoms are a soreness in the centre of the palm of the right hand and stiffness in the fngers of the same hand –  brought on by assembling flat-pack furniture.

There is, I am afraid, no cure, although the symptoms will disappear after several days of discomfort.

My discovery is several years overdue; after all the clues are all around me in our house. I am sitting at an Ikea table in front of Ikea shelves with an Ikea bookcase behind me and an Ikea wardrobe next to it – and that’s just in the room we use as an office.

Digression Alert

Then there’s the brilliant names that Ikea come up with for their products. Only a Swedish firm would call a bookcase “Billy” and a plastic bag for storing Sue’s excess clothes in the loft, “Dimpa”.

Back to “Screwdriver Hand”

My remarkable discovery of this condition is really the fault of two completely innocent Danes.

We have family in Denmark and we are really excited that they are coming to stay with us at Easter. At least, I am sufficiently excited to want to tidy up a small proportion of the junk important items that I have stored around the house on a number of piles.

Sue is sufficiently excited about their visit to decide to replace our somewhat ancient bedroom furniture. It seems that they will be using our bed (the only one in our house) while we will camp out on the inflatable mattress in Sue’s ironing room.

I know that Easter is some weeks away, but we have made an uncharacteristically early start which has involved removing the old furniture – which now graces the increasingly frequently mentioned Tony’s version of our junk room storage space. We then cleaned in places that hadn’t seen a duster, let alone a vacuum cleaner, for ages and we started to assemble the contents of a number of heavy cardboard boxes that were collected from Ikea on Saturday evening.

This was when I discovered that my venerable and very rarely exercised Black and Decker electric screwdriver had a completely flat battery. So I did what any reasonable person would do, I grumbled and moaned and went to fetch the manual screwdrivers. This was the start of my self-experimentation that has led to my remarkable medical breakthrough. We started by assembling two three-drawer Malm (another great name!) chests of three drawers.

This involved about 20 or 30 screws for each (plus more than a dozen for each drawer). With these complete, we moved on to two six-drawer chests with a trendy opening lid that conceals a mirror.

I stopped counting the screws in these after the first million.

Unfortunately we still have two unopened cardboard boxes on our front room floor containing two four-drawer chests. We didn’t actually measure the space where we intended to put these, but it gradually became clear that they will not fit in our bedroom. It wasn’t all bad news because my Screwdriver Hand  has had time for the pain to recede, but I know that once we have taken advantage of Ikea’s offer to return unwanted items and return home with some other variant in the Malm range of drawer units, my attack of Screwdriver Hand will be back.

Ride Safe


It’s Not Just Missing Bits – It’s a Missing Charley

This is in some danger of turning into a cat blog, although I stand by the statement that I made here that I am not a mad cat person, although I seem to be surrounded by them.

On Friday last week, Charley (the latest cat) escaped from his captivity in our front room.

I wouldn’t dare suggest that there was any contributory negligence on the part of “someone” (not me) who must have left the kitchen door slightly open. I can think of no other explanation for why this door was open and there was a space where Charley had been.

By the way, “someone” who isn’t me in this house leaves only one other candidate, Sue. But as I say, I wouldn’t suggest that she was responsible for the breakout.

Anyway, it wasn’t until Sunday that our neighbour, good friend and eater of cheese on toast, known for short as Tony, spotted a familiar ginger shape hanging around his garage while he was washing his car on the drive. He quickly passed on this intelligence to Sue who swooped on the unsuspecting cat and returned him to the food, my settee and the captivity of our front room.

He tucked into the food with some relish, obviously hungry from a couple of days back in his old ways of living rough and spent the rest of the day catching up on sleep and very probably dreaming of the next escape attempt.

In a normal story, this would be the end because the cat had been returned to the bosom of his new family and a period of imprisonment settling down would then ensue.

But not in our house.

Oh No.

Guess who had the great idea of not waiting for him to start wandering around wailing and looking under the settee for the tunnel?

Yes, it was the Brain of Bulwell 2009, Sue, who decided to let him out on Monday morning. This was just before the weather turned cold again, the rain and wind started and it became completely unfit for a husband to be dragged out down the street calling for a cat that doesn’t want to be found. No problem, the husband doesn’t go, but Sue has now widened her one-woman search party to the next street as well.

But it’s OK, he’s got a collar and a tag on with our address, so he will eventually be found.

Perhaps I should just keep out of it and let the local coven of mad cat women sort this out for themselves, but I am convinced that poor old Charley really needs a bit of male support here to convince him that captivity is for the best in the long run.

After all, it worked for me.  

Ride Safe