Happy Marriage
Black Country Stories
Caelum Animalis
The Can Opener
Chewing Gum
Chorister's Alphabet
David and Goliath
Euro English
Feline Sedentation
Happy Marriage
Hell's Bells
The Gardener
The Icon
A Plan for the Church
St Ichabod's



Extract from 'Ten rules for a happy marriage'.

When a husband is reading aloud, the wife should sit quietly in her chair, relaxed but attentive. If he has decided to read the Conservative Manifesto, an article on Dutch Elm Disease, or a blow-by-blow account of a prize-fight, it is not going to be easy, but she should at least pretend to be interested. She should not keep swinging her foot, start to wind her wrist watch, file her finger nails, or clap her hands in an effort to catch a mosquito. The good wife allows a mosquito to bite her when her husband is reading aloud. She should not break in to correct her husband’s pronunciation, nor to tell him that one of his socks is inside-out. When the husband is finished, she should not immediately lunge into some irrelevant subject. It is wiser to exclaim, “How interesting !” or, at the very least, “Well, well !” She might even compliment him on his diction, his grasp of politics, elm disease or boxing. If he should ask some shrewd question to test her attention, she can cry “Good heavens!”, leap up and rush out to the kitchen on some urgent but fictitious errand. This may fool him, or it may not. I hope for her sake – and his, that it does.

A good husband should try to remember where things are around the house, so that he does not have to await his wife’s return from the hairdresser before he can put his hands on something he requires, Among the things a husband is usually unable to locate are iodine, aspirin, nail file, the French vermouth, cuff links, studs, black silk socks, the snapshots taken last year on the Algarve, the video tape of Angela’s wedding, the borrowed copy of My cousin Rachel, the bill for the Credit Card, his new raincoat and the car keys. I don’t know the solution to this problem, but one should be found. Perhaps every wife should draw for her husband a detailed map of the house showing clearly the location of everything he might need. The trouble is that he would lay the map down somewhere and not be able to find it until his wife got home. Then again it is difficult to cater for the fact that most husbands are incapable of understanding the pure logic of the biscuits being (of course) in a meat tin marked “sago”.