T cannot get his radio to work again. We have been here before. As with the other things in his life, such as his preferred digestif, he runs out and forgets to replace it. Once he is out of brandy he will steal my whisky, so I have to hide it. he doesn’t do it deliberately, and will be hurt if I ask him not to, on the grounds that he would always offer his brandy to me. But as he is nearly always out of brandy, and I don’t drink it, that is not the issue, is it?

So: the radio. We have many radios in the house, and only two use batteries: the small portable in the bathroom and the slightly larger portable he owns. When his portable expires, we have the same routine. He asks me where the batteries are. I ask which batteries, as he knows where the rechargeables are, as they are kept in his study.

“No, the batteries for my radio.”

“We don’t keep those sort of batteries, darling, as nothing in the house requires them except your radio. So you are responsible for those batteries.”

“I’ll use the bathroom radio until I buy some.”

It is now a few weeks later. “Do you mind if I use the bathroom radio?”

“I thought you’d replaced the batteries in your radio?”

“I did, but it doesn’t work.”

So I go to look at it, as I deal with the electrics in the house. It takes 4 batteries. They have been inserted correctly and all appear suitable for a demanding product such as a radio. The only oddity is that they are of two different sorts: one is Sainsburys’ own label and the other a commercial branded product. I ask why he bought two different sorts?

“They came in the same pack.”

I find this very odd, but he insists he bought a pack of 6 from Sainsburys. In the hope that the remaining 2 are the same as one of the other pairs, I ask where they are? He has put them away safe somewhere. As it is now the evening, and searching for anything T has put away safely may take several hours, we reconvene the next day. I leave him to the search. He emerges triumphant with 4 batteries, which look suspiciously like the ones we removed from his radio the previous night. I ask him where he found them? He tells he they were on the window sill next to the radio. I point out they are the batteries that do not work.

Crestfallen, he returns to the search, giving up half an hour later. I point out the anomaly of a supermarket selling a mixed pack of batteries, but he insists it is so. He cannot recall whether the remaining batteries resembled either of the ones we have. He does not have the discarded pack. He does not wish to return the batteries, as there will be queues. He will go out and buy four new batteries, as someone may have broken into the pack and replaced new batteries with worn ones.

I refrain from pointing out this is really unlikely in Sainsburys, because by now I am even doubting he bought batteries there, though two of them are the store’s own brand.

“Then don’t forget to buy yourself some brandy, darling,” is all I say.


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