What a lovely weekend it's been. We've spent most of it a) in the garden digging, or b) in the garden, drinking or c) in the garden rather pissed and silly, pruning things which shouldn't be pruned in such a random fashion with the kitchen scissors. I've come in before it's too late and my beloved garden takes on the look of a bad haircut from a visually impaired barber with a red wine hangover.
Anyway, yesterday, to enhance the loveliness of our courtyard garden (sounds so much posher than "the patio" doesn't it?) we decided to ponce it up a bit with some solar lights. I went on the internet and had a good look around, finding just the very thing at John Lewis, but unfortunately at a price which made the husband snort with derision. Apparently he would expect a fitted solar panel on the roof of the house which powered all our lighting, heating and hot water for that sort of money, so back to the researching I went. Although not wishing to spend an arm and a leg we didn't want anything that was too tacky, naff or unacceptably hideous, but finally much to my surprise I found just the very things at Wilkinson's. They were actually metal and glass as opposed to plastic and plastic, looked a bit John Lewis-esque but were at a gob-smackingly amazing price - five pounds each! Needless to say I wasted no time at all, got out of my gardening gear, slapped on some lippy and whizzed down to Wilkinson's to get a trolley load.
Back home and triumphant (did I tell you they were only FIVE POUNDS?) it was just a matter of screwing all the bits together, charging the little suckers up in the sunlight and hey presto - nearly all of them worked, with just one refusing to charge or glow at night (the party pooper). Despite the fact that there were only a fiver each (have I mentioned that before?) I got back in the car and took the faulty one back and changed it. Back home once again I found that although the replacement lantern was fine the little hooky thing it was supposed to hang from didn't screw together properly. Flange bracket a) just didn't want to fix into flange bracket b) or c). Oh bugger.
So back into town I went, this time a bit hot and bothered as I had by then been to the goddam shop three times and still not got a full set of working lights. Yes I know they were only a fiver, but still they should all work shouldn't they? And by then I'd spent more than that on parking and petrol. Grrr.
At the till the cashier was a bit puzzled to see me again so soon and even more so when I tried to show her the problem.
"You see these three pieces of metal tube? Well, that one should fit into that one, and this one should fit into them both, but they don't. The problem is that there are three female ends and no males."
She stared at me a bit, slightly taken aback.
"Three female ends and no males. I don't understand what you're talking about."
I tried again. Someone standing behind me had a little giggle.
"Well, somewhere along the line, there's got to be one end that goes in, the male, and another that receives it, the female, and I've got three ends that receive and nothing to go in. Three female ends and no male."
I hear several sniggers from the growing line of shoppers in the queue.
"Still not quite with you there love" - the cashier shook her head and gazed and me, mystified. I think she is definitely having me on, but I can't be quite sure as she remains dead-pan.
"It's simple," says I, undeterred, demonstrating with my left hand fore-finger and thumb, making a circle and using my right index finger to poke through it to demonstrate the problem visually. "It goes through like this, only with more screwing." I am too intent on my mission to fully realise the visual impact of my action at this point, or the fact that my mime might in some circles be considered obscene, but I am aware that I am causing a bit of a stir. I'm pretty sure I saw the cashier's mouth twitch a bit at the corners, as if trying to suppress a smirk.
The muffled tittering behind me is turning into a the sort of laughter a stand-up comedian would be pleased with. I can't understand why the cashier isn't getting my drift if everyone else is. Or is she? I begin to wonder if they are laughing at me, not her. Her lip is definitely quivering.
"Sorry, she says, smiling broadly. "I still don't understand the female receiving and the male screwing bit. I'm just not getting it"
From the near hysterical queue behind me, a highly amused middle aged woman, helpless with laughter, chimes in:
"You and me both, dear. You and me both."
Next time I'm selling tickets.