There I was espousing the merits of the situation to the Lads. I was home alone for the guts of a week; happy as a pig in S.H eye tea, and explaining how well I was getting on without any hindrances.

I told them that one mug did me all week. I just rinsed it under the kitchen sink whenever it got empty – which was seldom enough. One side-plate and one spoon, knife and fork, serviced my dining needs for the duration.

You see, Mrs Youcantbeserious was away all week; or as The Guys in Canada might put it; ‘my ol’ lady is out of town!’

The lid of the toilet bowl stayed up all week. The back of chairs acted as clothes horses for an array of shirts, trousers and jackets. Working duds didn’t have to be raised any higher than the floor. Shoes were left at the most convenient spot for putting them on next time – and I didn’t have to take them off before going upstairs.

I stayed up watching a late night movie without an iota of guilt; there was nobody scolding me the next morning with; “you were very late coming to bed … what kept you up?”

The glass door of the stove didn’t have to be cleaned for five days. Sweeping the kitchen floor only takes a few minutes … but what’s the point when you can leave it until tomorrow and make the sweep worthwhile?

When I had business to do in town, I didn’t feel any compulsion to shave beforehand. There was nobody admonishing me for ‘going to Mullingar looking like a tramp.’ And when I picked up another apple pie and a couple of packets of chocolate biscuits (just in case somebody called!) nobody said; ‘you need to put half that tart in the freezer.’ I had lunch in town or dinner out most days and when not, I picked up my favourite takeaway. Sheer and utter bliss!

The Lads were enthralled by my tales and I could see the envy in their eyes. It’s nice to have one up on them the odd time. “Can you think of anything lovelier than the peace and tranquillity of your own house all to yourself; the joy of solitude and knowing that there is no greater company in the world than your own?” I asked them. Nothing like rubbing it in when you get the chance, I always say …

My family phoned every night just to see how I was getting on. I used my ‘keeping the bright side out’ tone of voice … keeping a brave face on my suffering. I spoke to herself twice a day and unselfishly entreated her not to be worrying about me.

Life was great and I knew it; but then something happened …

After the fourth day I could overhear the Lads commenting; “he’s gone very quiet in himself.” Now, it’s not like me to become withdrawn and I knew what was wrong with me – but I couldn’t tell anybody. The truth was that I was missing my wife – so I said nothing. “Anything fresh today”, the Lads would enquire. I’d make up something about being busy with cattle all day … but I was beginning to pine.

Bernie Comaskey Books

It’s a ‘divil’ when you get so used to bouncing every idea off your mate and having the urge to talk to her about the news on the radio, or the bit of gossip passed on by a neighbour: Then before you know it, you find yourself talking to yourself.

On the fifth day I started hanging up clothes and I cleaned the stove – polishing the glass door until it sparkled. I finally remembered to water the plants … praying that nothing had died on my watch due to neglect.

The sixth day arrived and I started by hoovering my shoe prints off the stairs carpet. I scrubbed the kitchen floor tiles until they reflected the sweat on my brow. I made another charge at making the bed – and when that didn’t turn out well, I just stretched the duvet over the tangled mess.

Last thing then I went for a shower … even showering the bits that didn’t need it. A little dab from the ten years old bottle of aftershave – and I was ready.

Mrs Youcantbeserious arrived in the back door. I told you before, she has a nose like a dog, and so the fresh scent of both the floor and me greeted her as she crossed the threshold. Her eyes took in the shining kitchen along with my shining face. “You’re not quite as useless as you make yourself out to be,” were her first words.

That’s another thing I love about her: she is always so effusive in her praise of me …

Don’t Forget

God gave women a sense of humour – so they could understand the joke they married.