... and I've been fooled again. The mother-in-law has such a gentle way with her that you don't realise before it is too late that she has chipped away at your resistance and you suddenly find yourself painting the new chest of drawers that you have bought for the coming arrival.
Now, me doing any kind of DIY is like asking the Rev Ian Paisley to take holy communion, but there I was sat outside my back door splashing paint on various strips of wood and, it must be said, most of myself in the process.
Not only that but on Tuesday night our curtain pole in the main bedroom decided to pull itself away from the wall (thanks in no small part from the lovely Mrs Rippers managing to sit on the curtain) and suddenly it was all hands to the pump to get it fixed.
Her mum immediately took charge like some strange mixture of Lawrence Llewellyn Bowen and Field Marshall Montgomery, and was quick to provide the polyfilla which she insisted was a cure for anything.
Try as we might, though, we couldn't get the curtain pole screws to fix into the polyfilla-filled holes and it was then I decided that perhaps brain power rather than brute force was the answer. Swiftly taking control, I suggested that the screws actually needed to screw into something, rather than lamely sit in some sticky gunge until it finally set. And after much elbow grease and aching arms I managed to use Mrs R's miniature Phillips screwdriver to drill the screws into the stone wall. Magically, the curtain pole was then put back on and the screws held it in place! Great, it is still firmly afixed while we speak.
Mind you, I may have made a curtain rod for my own back. Mum in law Amanda said: "You see, you are good at this, if you try."
Anyway, in all seriousness she has been a great help to Mrs Rippers at a time when she was struggling to juggle house, work and a rapidly increasing bump. Amanda went back home to sunny Suffolk yesterday with our thanks ringing in our ears.
Immediately I resumed the position: Prone on the bean bag, watching my favourite DVDs...
I thought Ramsey was about to pack in on me last night. I'd only just got onto the M4 on the long haul to Southend and was pushing 80 when the little Clio started jumping and juddering around like some ageing punk pogoing to the Damned.
Bugger, I thought. I am going to have to stop and call the AA.
Then I had another thought.
When I took the car out of third gear and put it into fifth instead, the rev counter came down from 80 to 30 and normal service was resumed. Doh!