In the light of a new study from the Harvard School of Public Health that has found that watching too much TV can reduce fertility in young men, I breezily inform the Shah that I am amazed we ever managed to procreate at all.
"Whaddya mean by that?" he snorts, fumbling for the remote that seems somehow to have got itself stuck down his trousers.
"I mean, it's a wonder you're not a Jaffa* given the amount of time you spend glued to that thing" I reply.
"Nonsense. But while we're on the subject of the telly..."
Too late, I realise I have played right into his hands as he uses the opportunity to pitch for a new TV in the family room. Although I sigh and pull faces, I'm quite pleased because the old one is ginormous and takes up half the room. Viz:-
It was one of the first ever flat screen TVs but, as you can see, they hadn't quite got the hang of slimline technology all those years ago. It also weighs 14 stone. Yes, really. That's 90kg or 196lbs for my non-British chums.
"Sooo," wheedles the Shah, "you know how we have to go to John Lewis on Saturday to pay for the new carpets? We could have a look for a new TV at the same time!" And he flops back onto the sofa, exhilarated by this grand idea but also exhausted by the effort of paying me this much attention.
However, there is (naturally) a fly in the ointment and, by Saturday, I had been struck down by the virus from hell and was feeling really, really awful. However, carpets have to be paid for because John Lewis won't lay then without payment up front, cos they're funny like that. So I wearily trailed along with his nibs who was uncommonly chipper, considering we were going shopping - an activity that normally brings him out in hives.
Unfortunately, the person who served us in the flooring department was new and felt it safest to check every last full stop on the order before he could consider relieving me of my credit card to pay. By this stage, I could have cheerfully lain down on a nearby pile of tufted samples and wept but I gritted my teeth and soldiered on, shivering. The Shah sat back happily in one of their thoughtfully-provided armchairs and eyed my flushed cheeks and glazed expression.
"Do you know what?" he asked
"Um, no," I mumbled, thinking "he's going to say 'let's not bother with the tv, you look terrible, I'm going to take you straight home and tuck you up with some Night Nurse and a hot water bottle'..." He smiled slightly and leaned forward.
"I was thinking about my Pension the other day."
Inwardly, I am now screaming WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU? But I have no energy to form the words, so I make some vague noises and try to smile.
The Shah continues unabashed. "Contributions, blah, Stakeholders, blah, Insurance Premiums, blah, rates of return, blah, ROI, blah blah blah..." he burbles.
Eventually, the transaction is complete and we trail to the Electrical Department. This is the equivalent of Shah Heaven. He could (and did) spend hour on fecking hour gazing at all the screens on offer, waxing lyrical about the relative merits of HD over 3D (like I care). Unfortunately again, the person the Shah chose to serve us this time was about as technologically
boring inclined as he, so they went off on a little tangent wittering on to each other about internet connections and wireless keyboards.
Death would have been sweet release.
E-v-e-n-t-u-a-l-l-y the deed is struck, the Shah has snatched the bargain of the century from under the nose of some other unlucky sod and delivery has been arranged.
We arrive home to find our (17 and 20 year old) children engaged in a game that was a favourite when they were kiddies. It's called 'Hub bub bub' and involves one person grabbing any excess flesh around the middle of the other and squeezing it to tickle them, all the time shrieking (you'll never guess) "Hub bub bub". Of course, these days, they are far too big and strong and, sure enough, one was too rough and hurt the other one and the whole thing disintegrated into a cacophony of punching and name-calling.
The Shah eyed the brawl being enacted on the kitchen floor as he stepped over the tangle of arms and legs.
"What was that you were saying about being a Jaffa?" he asked with a certain wistfulness.
*Jaffa - a coarse term to indicate that someone is infertile - i.e. seedless.