I follow his truck up the drive, keen to tell him the exciting news about the chicken bark.

He disembarks from the cab and throws open the tailgate. Several badly-packed supermarket bags are revealed.

“What?” I begin. “Have you been…”

“Don’t say anything,” he warns, wearily lifting down the shopping.

I convey my message and slope back to the Cottage pensively. How was it that we all became so oppressed? If even Short Tony is being sent out to do menial household tasks then that is just about the end for mankind, and we may as well just be living in ‘The Worm that Turned’ by The Two Ronnies.

I hang out the washing to dry in the fierce heat of the Norfolk weather. I do not use the new pegs that I got for Christmas as there is a slight breeze and they are not overly sturdy. By the time I have put the rubbish out and placed some cups in the dishwasher I am exhausted, and only just have time for a couple of games of ‘Scramble’ on the Facebook before the antiques programme starts on the telly.

There must be a solution to drudgery like this. When I was a small boy it was generally accepted that by the time we reached the twenty-first century all households would have a robot that would do all the boring stuff for you whilst you went and leisured at the astropark with Jenny Agutter. But that has not happened yet. At the time when I actually WAS a small boy, my mum did all that stuff anyway. It is just my luck to be born in the wilderness zone gap between fully functioning housewives and robots.

A new lot of washing goes in the machine; I rearrange the shoe rack so that the shoes are in order of colour (lightest first). If I get the place nicely straight for the LTLP when she returns home then she will not mind finishing up by doing the washing up and wiping all the surfaces and clearing out the sink. Sometimes I suspect the lack of robot development is some sort of plot to keep people in their place. Either way, I am fed up with having to do more than my fair share.

23 thoughts on “I scuttle over to Short Tony’s.

  1. johng says:


    You slave. Just like Premiership footballers…and chickens.

  2. alan.sloman says:

    Now that you have the dishwasher under control you must not let the LTLP upset your system. She should Never Ever put the large porragey Pyrex jug in the top tray.

    New Men know to put it on the bottom. You can’t tell them though. They just don’t listen.

  3. HFactor says:

    Your chickens BARK? Mine just make ordinary clucking noises, apart from the one who got eaten by a dog, who can only `meep’ now.

    Must go, husband is cooking my tea.

  4. tillylil says:

    You are obviously a New Man Jonny.
    Who needs robots – they are not half as easy to wind up!

  5. Dava Lassie says:

    Know what to get you for Christmas this year…a peg bag!

    You are almost the perfect wife. Just a bit more practice at cleaning the bathrooms and the addition of a tabard.

    …or do you already have onbe?

  6. Dava Lassie says:

    b***er. Should read ‘one’.

  7. Brennig says:

    For what it’s worth… I’ve leisured with Jenny Agutter. 🙂

  8. zed says:

    It’s a hard life, innit, JonnyBee?

  9. JonnyB says:

    I actually have a manly box for my pegs. Hullo Dava Lassie and welcome!

  10. “Scuttle”? Not sure I can let you get away with that one, Jonny, given the overtones of speed attached to it. Tho’ the word’s strong association with crabs does at least check the box marked “wide arse”.

    Likewise, since when were you concerned with wives, fully functioning or otherwise? Put a ring on the poor girl’s finger and then we’ll talk. It’s not as if a robot would do a sad invertebrate like you any good anyway – recalling the ease with which the chickens outwit you, it would not be long before you were running down to the shops for its WD40 while it sprawled on the couch watching Robot Wars

  11. QldDeb says:

    My heart bleeds for you Jonny.

    Maybe you can train the chooks to help with the housework. You’ve probably got more chance of training them than the toddler.

  12. Gimli says:

    I wouldn’t mind a “Worm That Turned” scenario as much if all the women had to wear the leather hot-pants.
    No, I didn’t think that through. Not all women.
    I found myself having a discussion on the most efficient floor cleaning product last night. Ok, it was a discussion in the pub, but now you’ve got me worried. It’s been 20 years since I filled in my “Size” graph, but perhaps it’s time to re-monitor things.

  13. Rachel says:

    Jonny, it’s autumn. The really good houseperson is faffing about with fruit and sugar making fabulous preserves.

    Maybe if you made a really good bramble and apple jelly the LTLP would wear leather hotpants when she comes home from the office?

  14. Wow, you’re almost fully house-trained! Can I have the LTLP’s telephone number to ask her how she got you this far? 😉

  15. Paul says:

    From recollection, I think Jonny may already have put a ring on the LTLP’s finger.

    Why shouldn’t you put the porridge jug on the top shelf?

  16. Fanto says:

    Hmmmm. I feel I’ve gone the same way. I had a full blown discussion about “stardrops” cleaning fluid yesterday (it is great by the way, both on hard surfaces AND textiles). My plan for this evening is also to do a washing and get the floors done while my LTLP goes out on the ran dan.

    If I end up with chickens I’ll know there’s no return.

  17. Megan says:

    The porridge jug can go on the top shelf if and only if it has first been well and truly rinsed. Otherwise the porridge slime turns to cement and bonds firmly to the pyrex. See also anything with egg on.

    Forget the robot, I want the ride-on vacuum and the automated dusting machine.

  18. greavsie says:

    You need a pinnie.

  19. Rachel says:

    Jonny, take heart. There are many women in Norfolk who would love to have a brother like you.

  20. Paul says:

    Ah, that’s where I’ve been going wrong.

  21. alan.sloman says:


    JonnyB is at home all day and so all the room on the top deck of the dishwasher should be reserved for all the mugs from his endless coffee drinking and the side plates from his digestive biscuits. (He surely would not want crumbs littering his pc’s desk, would he?)

    And Megan is spot on. JonnyB will, of course, be all too aware of these problems.

  22. scribbles08 says:

    Hey that’s what happens when you decide to be a ‘house-husband’. No more cut and thrust of the manly business world, just worry over whether LTLP might not think she’s got a very good deal, (if you don’t get the hang of the machines and so on)!

  23. Blazing says:

    It is just my luck to be born in the wilderness zone gap between fully functioning housewives and robots.


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