Comedy Of Blunders


Dear Mum,

As William Shakespeare never wrote,

If a job’s worth doing, then get someone in to do it properly

It’s not the British way of course. We only use experts as a last resort. And heaven forfend that we should ever read the instructions until things have gone irretrievably lute-shaped. Instruction manuals are for wimps! Everyone knows that…

The air-conditioning unit in the main living area of my apartment stopped working on Wednesday night. It’s a vital piece of equipment for me in order to keep the computer cool. So on Thursday morning, my first priority was to get it working.

I have absolutely no idea how air-conditioning units work. It’s a job for an expert. So in true British fashion, I decided to take it apart.

The first thing I noticed is that it has air filters. These filters were pretty clogged up with dirt. It’s probably all there in the instruction manual under care and maintenance, but as it’s all in Swedish, there’s not much chance really.

The filters came out very easily to clean. But they stubbornly refused to go back in again.

Fell at the first hurdle!


Ok. I was right. It’s a job for an expert. But it could wait. Because the second first priority was to move the computer into the air-conditioned spare bedroom, so that I could at least carry on working. I could worry about the other air-conditioning unit later.

The first problem to be overcome was that there is no telephone point in either of the two bedrooms. I remember thinking when I first moved in that it was a bit strange for a brand new apartment block to be so poorly equipped. It would have been a simple matter to have put phone extensions into each bedroom.

No matter. I went out to buy a telephone extension lead. Where was likely to be the nearest place?

Working on the principle that I could waste a lot of time going to obvious places and finding that they didn’t sell them  –  this is Cyprus, after all  –  I decided to go to the shop where I’d bought my computer, where I knew they sold them. It’s about 10 minutes walk, and I’m sure there must be somewhere nearer, but what the hell. I often go there for various bits and pieces.

I glanced down the first side-street I came to, and saw another computer shop which I’d never noticed before, even though I’ve walked along that street many times. So I thought I’d try there first. I was in luck.

3 metres or 5 metres?

He must have wondered why I didn’t answer immediately. But I always have this trouble. What the hell’s a metre? I know the UK went metric a long time ago, but it passed me by. I still think in yards, feet and inches.

I had a look at them and the 3 metre one looked sufficient, so the deal was done. A snip at £2.50.

I had a look round the shop while I was there. It was every bit as good as the one I often spend 10 minutes walking to.

I timed it walking back. Door to door  –  98 seconds!


It’s only taken me nine months to discover it.

The next thing to decide was exactly where in the spare bedroom I was going to site the computer. There were two single beds in the way! Not stupid  –  need to see where the power points are first. So I pulled one of the beds away from the wall and there was a power point  –  and a telephone socket!


I stared at it for a moment in disbelief. I’ve pulled this bed away from the wall many times to clean behind it. How could I not have noticed it?

So I looked in the main bedroom, the one I use every day, and found a telephone point behind one of the bedside tables.

It wasn’t there before! Neither of them were. I swear it!

I pondered this for a few moments, and then the answer became obvious. The fairies must have installed them one night while I was asleep.

No matter. I could get a refund on the extension lead. At least I now knew where the computer was going to go.

The two single beds were heavy to move. I pushed one of them against the other wall, and tried to figure out what to do with the other one. First I pushed it up tight against the bed I’d already moved, but it didn’t leave enough room. I thought about standing it on end, or turning it upside down and standing it on top of the other one. I considered moving it into the main living area, but it wouldn’t fit through the door without dismantling it, which presumably would be a timely procedure.

In the end, I decided to try tipping it on its side and see if it gave me sufficient room. I removed the mattress and placed it on top of the other bed. I removed the base board and put it on top of the other bed. I gripped one side of the bed frame and lifted it to turn the bed on its side. It came away in my hands, leaving the headboard, the tailboard and the other side of the frame still standing. I felt very stupid!

But it was that simple. The sides of the frame just lifted away from the head and tail boards. 15 seconds!


I’d spent 15 minutes trying to work out what to do with it!

Next thing was that the table I stand the computer on didn’t quite fit through the door, whichever way I tried it. Have to take the legs off. Nothing else for it. I was just about to start unscrewing them when I realised that the bathroom door was closed. All I had to do was open it, turn the table on its side and bend it through the door.


What was wrong with me this morning? I’m usually on the ball. Really! There must be something about living in Larnaca that’s turned me into a complete imbecile.

So I moved the table and all the computer bits and pieces and plugged everything in and wired everything up. All ready to go.

Hungry now. Need breakfast.

So I went out to a small nearby café for a coffee and a croissant, and took the telephone extension lead with me to get a refund.

The guy in the shop looked a bit crestfallen at the idea of refunding money. It was after all only a small independent business, so I suggested that he just gave me a credit note, as I’d surely be back for something else. He seemed to prefer this idea and agreed to knock £2.50 off my next purchase. Didn’t actually give me a credit note, mind you. Probably the first time he’d ever heard of such a thing. That was the impression I got anyway.

So, I returned home and switched everything on, ready to start work.


No internet connection!

Anyone with half a brain would probably have had the gumption to check the telephone socket first and make sure that it was live! But oh no. Not me!

I plugged the telephone into the socket, and sure enough  –  no dialling tone.

I checked the socket in the other bedroom and that one was working just fine. But the thought of dismantling everything again and moving it was just too much.

No matter! All I needed was a telephone extension lead.


The guy in the shop was quite surprised to see me back so soon to redeem my non-existent credit note, and he very diplomatically pretended to see the funny side. But I could hear him thinking…

So I returned home and couldn’t help noticing that the computer, which I’d left switched on, now had an internet connection.

Oops! Oops! And thrice Oops!

I guess it must have been the fairies again, having a laugh. Because that telephone socket was now live!

There was no way I was going back to that shop again for another refund. I’d be the laughing-stock of Larnaca.

Anyone wanna buy a 3-metre telephone extension lead? £2.00? Alright, £1.50…

So, two and half hours later, computer moved, everything working fine (except the air-conditioning unit in the other room that I’d started to take apart).

The only thing that bothered me was that the computer fan was still having to work much too hard. It sounded like an aeroplane about to take off! Something wasn’t right!

I was right. Something wasn’t right! It was my brain.

What was the reason I’d spent the last couple of hours moving the computer into the spare bedroom?


I’d forgotten to turn the air-conditioning on…

The only other slight annoyance was that when it got dark that evening, I found that the light in the spare room didn’t work. Bulb was blown. So I replaced it with the bulb from outside the bathroom and bought another one plus a couple of spares the following morning. Fitted the new bulb, and opened the cupboard to store the two spares.

Which is when I discovered the spare bulbs that I now remembered buying only last week because the light in the spare bedroom had blown…



– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Those of you who know me well will have had a good laugh at ‘I’ve pulled this bed away from the wall many times to clean behind it.

Please feel free to substitute ‘once or twice’ for ‘many’.


©MPB 27/August/2007

Cast (in order of appearance)

Priapus the Incompetent
Priapus the Nincompoop
Priapus the Artless Buffoon
Priapus the Dunderheaded Twerp
Priapus the Bird-Brained Numskull
Priapus the Beetle-Headed Clotpole
Priapus the Mollycoddled Clodhopper
Priapus the Hopeless, Idle-Headed Ninny
Priapus the Hasty-Witted, Motley-Minded Joithead
Priapus the Logger-Headed, Tickle-Brained Hugger-Mugger
Priapus the Indolent, Bare-Faced Prevaricator


One Response to Comedy Of Blunders

  1. Elentir says:

    Hi! I’ve recomended your blog for my selection of BlogDay 2007. You can see my article here:

    Sorry, it’s only in spanish…

    Regards from Spain!

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