The mother returned from town proudly carrying a Black & Decker hedge trimmer. This had "bad idea" written all over it. In a bit of a Due South moment, I swear I heard my late father ask "why the bloody hell have you let her have one of those?".

Sixty minutes later, my (our?) fears were realised. Fortunately I didn't find myself making a dash to casualty; instead I was taking apart the strimmer to re-fit the cable, which was suddenly 50cm shorter than before.

"I didn't even realise I'd cut it until the thing stopped working!"

Praise the lord for the wonder of 3 amp fuses.

All in all, it wasn't a good day for electrical appliances - the microwave spontaneously died midway through irradiating our baked potatoes, plunging us back in time by at least a decade.

"The terror of the atomic age is not the violence of the new power but the speed of man's adjustment to it - the speed of his acceptance."

E. B. White