Arrested development


John Cleese in Clockwise

This is a historic moment.* I have just checked my bank balance and realised that this month, for the first time in about two years, I will not veer dangerously close to going overdrawn. I achieved this feat by writing down my monthly income and outgoings, subtracting the one from the other and working out how much I could sensibly spend each week, and then doing it. I know! Rocket science.

In celebration of the fact that it’s taken me two years of nearly (and sometimes actually) going overdrawn every four weeks to work out how to stay in the black, here are some more things that it took me ages to figure out:

Just because someone disagrees with me, it doesn’t mean they’re wrong. I still have trouble with this one, even though I know it’s objectively true. But when I remember to act like it’s true, I get into less trouble.

It’s fine to bring two pieces of hand luggage. Those warnings about having to pay extra if you carry an extra bag are LIES. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve squeezed everything I needed for a trip overseas into one bag, only to arrive at an airport and find everyone else has merrily brought a handbag, a rucksack, a shopping bag and a laptop case and nobody minds a bit. IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP (thanks Egon): this doesn’t hold true for Ryanair, where you can’t even carry a bottle of water outside your one weeny bag without being told off and charged an extra hundred and twenty thousand pounds.

I am the only person who notices if my nose is shiny. Amazing, but true. I look in the mirror and see the swamp thing, everybody else sees the same person they see when my nose isn’t shiny. I can’t decide if this is good news because I must always look like the person I see in the mirror on a non-shiny day, or bad news because I must always look like the person I see in the mirror on a shiny day. Thoughts welcome, even though I now know nobody cares but me.

You can clean everything with baby wipes. I used to think you needed a different type of cleaning product for every surface in the home. This always felt like too much effort, so I combated the problem by only cleaning things made of glass (because cleaning mirrors is fun). Then one day I used a baby wipe instead of a piece of kitchen towel to mop up a spill, and noticed that the bit of kitchen I’d mopped up was cleaner than all the rest of the kitchen, so I carried on mopping until my kitchen was sparklingly clean, and I’ve never looked back. Just, don’t get the ones that smell of nappies.

Frank Lampard and Jamie Redknapp are cousins. I found this out a year ago and told everyone I knew, and they all shrugged and went “yeah, everyone knows that”.

The Kylie Minogue who played Charlene in Neighbours is the same Kylie Minogue who sang I Should Be So Lucky. Yeah, I know. In my defence I was eleven, but for a good six months I was absolutely convinced they were different people. I even knew what they both looked like.

* Not really, but I can almost never resist quoting Clockwise, even when I should absolutely know better.