Just three months into our relationship, the builder boyfriend overwhelmed me with some serious romance.
He took me to B&Q for new kitchen units. I was breathless with excitement as we drove to New Malden in his pick-up truck. That’s right. My new boyfriend is so butch he has a Mitsubishi L200. Be still my beating heart.
He is also so butch he does home improvements without me even noticing. We were walking down the street one day with the spaniel, for example, when we passed a load of furniture piled up outside someone’s house with a note saying that if anyone wanted any of it they could help themselves. Without stopping, he scooped up a solid pine utensil rack with his little finger.
By the time I had taken off the dog’s lead and come into the kitchen he had fitted it on the wall in the perfect spot and arranged utensils on it.
‘That’s insane,’ I said, staring at him with wild eyes. ‘Don’t you like it?’ ‘No, I love it. It’s just…how did you…I mean…you just…’
When I left him in the house for two hours while I went out to a meeting the results were extraordinary. I came back and didn’t recognise where I lived. He hadn’t just done the front garden, he’d landscaped it. The bushes were topiaried into perfect little boxes and ball shapes.
I found him hard at work in the back garden, which he had made three times bigger than I remembered by undertaking major tree surgery. The spaniel was leaping around him in joyous abandon as branches flew everywhere.
He waved away my spluttering protestations of gratitude and amazement, saying, ‘It was a mess out here. I’ve taken most of the stuff to the tip but we’ll need to do another trip.’
‘But how…I’ve only been gone…’
If he could affect such a revolution without even breaking a sweat what on earth could he do when we went to B&Q?
I was not disappointed. It was very bliss. There was none of that asking monosyllabic spotty teenagers in overalls to help me as I struggled to extract a trolley from the stack. There was no begging for help from men called Dwaine who found it hilarious that I didn’t know what a T-handled nutdriver was.
I swanned around that B&Q store like a fairytale princess, my builder boyfriend, resplendent in paint-spattered jeans, pushing the biggest, meanest trolley at my side.
As he climbed the shelves and manhandled flatpacks containing kitchen units, I gave the lost-looking single women wandering the aisles knowing glances that said, ‘Yes, I was once like you. But now I’ve made it. I have a boyfriend who wears huge tan boots with steel caps in the toe. I’m sorry, what can I say? I’ve worked hard for this. I’m going to enjoy it and look imperiously at you as you huff and puff with your unmanageable trolley.’
We chose some nice, white shiny units and chrome handles and paid for them at the trade counter. No waiting in queues for me now.
I was slightly disappointed to look at the receipt afterwards and notice that we hadn’t got a special discount but I was still feeling pretty swept away.
Back home, he got straight down to unscrewing the old cupboard doors and putting the new ones on their hinges.
Everything was going beautifully when suddenly he let out an enormous howl. I ran into the kitchen and he was holding a cupboard door up to a space it should fit, only it didn’t. ‘What the *&%^?’ he was shouting.
It turns out that every door in my kitchen is a slightly different size. Naturally, he had only taken the measurements of one door, assuming they would all be the same.
‘Of all the &*%^ing…Why on earth isn’t it standard? I’ve never seen anything like it.’
I tried to explain to him that nothing in my life had ever been standard and that I wasn’t at all surprised that my kitchen units were being obstreperous.
But he was devastated. ‘I wanted to make it nice for you,’ he said, crestfallen. I explained that his just trying to make it nice had been the nicest thing anyone had ever done for me.
‘I’ve never had my very own builder who’s botched me a job for nothing before,’ I explained. ‘Normally I would have to pay a fortune for this sort of cock-up.’ I stood back to admire my kitchen, which was a vision. It had one shiny new cupboard door, complete with chrome handle, three old cupboard doors, and one gaping hole where the new door wouldn’t fit.
‘I love it,’ I said, putting my arms round him. ‘It’s the best cupboard door any girl ever had.’