To Be Frank, by Frank Edmonds, February 24, 2015

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They say things happen in threes ... and why is that, exactly? If two is a coincidence, what does that make three – a curse? Well that figures, because bewitched, bothered and bewildered would certainly explain a series of household calamities that have happened around here lately.

First, the telly. There I was, watching the football. And not just any old game, either – one of the biggest matches of the season for us.

Now, you would like to hope that things happening in threes in this context would mean a hat-trick, wouldn’t you? Er, no. What happened was Calamity No 1: the screen suddenly froze.

I should explain that the game was live, but I’d recorded it. I’d been doing stuff – getting my dinner, I believe – so I was about half an hour behind “real time.”

And then, 11 minutes into the game, the screen froze. And nothing I could do would un-freeze it. Noooo! Don’t do this to me! It’s the Merseyside derby!

In the end, I was forced to simply pull the plug out. That cured it, but guess what? The part I’d been watching had gone – it had started recording again, after the freeze! So I’d missed most of the first half!

Aaarrgh!! You heartless, vicious ... box! And it was now making a nasty buzzing sound into the bargain. Which it didn’t stop doing until I’d pulled the plug out and left it ... after the game was over!

Calamity No 2 was with the heating system. No, mercifully, it didn’t conk out in the depths of winter – it was the water tank. When the heating came on, it made a noise like you wouldn’t believe.

Now, we’re used to the pipes sounding a bit, er, lively at times – but I’d not heard anything like this. And let me tell you, it’s wonderful to be woken up at half-five in the morning by what sounds like a tsunami breaking out all around you.

That happened a few times – the Niagara Falls impressions, I mean, not the neighbours. We’d grit our teeth in expectation, twice a day (“Ready? Here it comes!”). And then just as suddenly as it started ... it stopped.

Probably to make way for Calamity No 3. That old demonic adversary of mine. Yes ... the printer!

I can’t tell you how frustrating it is when you’re in the middle of something, and you just want to print out one single thing, just one little piece of paper, that nonetheless is vital ... and the printer just won’t.

“The printer is not connected,” announced the computer. What??! Look, you see that black thing over there? That’s the printer! You see that long grey thing, sticking out the back of you and going into the black thing? That’s the cable! You ARE connected, you silly little machine!!

Nothing – and I mean nothing – I did could persuade it otherwise, though. Aaarrgh!!

Still, there was a happy ending – of sorts. We were lying in bed one night, and heard strange sounds. No, the tsunami wasn’t back. Three days after the event, the printer had finally decided to print!

Well, better late than never, I suppose ...