When I was about to tie the knot no one warned me about how much screwing was involved. No, sssh, quiet at the back, what I mean is however much you insist during courtship that DIY stores are completely out of bounds eventually you find that, rather than buying ready-made furniture, you are in Ikea stocking up on some preposterously awkward flatpacks.
Obviously not only does marriage come with certain financial obligations you didn't really factor into the equation when you were down on bended knee declaring undying love, but it also seems to administer an instant brain labotomy, wiping away completely all the good, sensible principles you held dear as a single person.
I fell into this trap because Mrs R, tired of sending me subliminal messages about improving our abode which obviously weren't getting through, has taken to leaving little TO DO lists around the house, hoping that I might get the hint. You find them in strategic places, like next to your tobacco on the mantlepiece, and can't avoid having a nose to see what they say. Among the things listed on this one was: Get a dining room table.
Well, being a bit financially challenged at the moment and with Mrs R having revealed the earth-shattering news that she is up the duff, my guilt gene kicked in with remarkable force and somehow I found myself at the aforementioned warehouse from hell buying a dining table and chairs.
Putting them together involved digging out the only two small screwdrivers I could find and concentrating manically on an instruction leaftlet full of diagrams which make the whole thing look so easy. Yeh, well.
The first problem you find is that, although it seems you have everything in front of you, it pretty soon dawns on you that there is one vital bolt missing from the package. Never mind, just carry on regardless rather than ring Ikea and have to make the whole miserable trip again just to pick up the missing item.
What it ends up like is a lesson in contortionism as you vainly try to get all the parts together at the same time. Fit one bit, and another falls off... screw in one part and you find that the part is actually upside down even though it looks exactly the same whichever way you hold it.
And then, when you think you have finally cracked it, you realise you don't have the Phillips screwdriver required, just an itty bitty normal implement on which you will have to exert the kind of pressure that a WWF wrestler might attempt as he tries to get his foe to submit.
Thankfully the end result is a reasonable looking table and four decent chairs, total cost £90 and a stunning array of blisters.
But what about the satisfaction of actually finishing the job? Pah, I would rather pull out my own teeth with a pair of pliers than go through that experience again.
On Sunday we met up with old colleagues Claire and Neil, with daughter Amelia, and Natalie and her boyfriend, also called Neil, or Neil the power as I will now refer to him to avoid confusion. The power? Well, I understand he works in a power station so it will have to do.
The latter two had travelled down from Carlisle so that The Power could go through the pain and suffering of watching his beloved football team play my shambolic lot at the Memorial Ground. For a while it looked like they would inflict the sixth defeat in a row on the Gas, leading twice only to go down to a goal three minutes into injury time. I actually felt a bit sorry for the geezer after all the travelling he had done to encounter such despair.
No matter we had a very enjoyable lunch in the White Lion on Frenchay Common and later Claire, Neil and Amelia had a tour of the cottage before heading back to Cardiff.
Poor Mrs R hasn't been feeling too good since the big news. As such I have been trying to help her out the best I can. This morning I attempted to make her porridge. This, like the table and chairs, hinted that it would be a breeze. The clue was on the packet, after all. Oats so Simple.
It involved opening a sachet, putting the oats in a bowl, filling the sachet with milk and then heating in the microwave for two minutes. What could be easier?
Umm, quite a bit. What it didn't say was the flimsy sachet wasn't really built to hold milk and that the slightest movement ended up with the majority of its contents on the floor. Having mopped that up I tried again, put the porridge in the microwave and then served it up to my ravenous wife.
One look at her face told me it wasn't quite the way she liked it. I think my porridge making duties will be going exactly the same way as my DIY career.