When Robin and I announced that we were getting married, everybody asked us what we wanted for a wedding present.
"Toasters!" I said long and loud.
And not one person took me at my word, except my mate Ian who gave us an ornamental, and therefore somewhat impractical, toaster.
Then, one recent morning, I put some breakfast bread in my reliable old toaster, the one that Noah gave me after the Ark came to a halt and the animals got off. He didn't need it any more 'cos he'd taken the opportunity to pop down to the Ararat Market and buy a new one.
I turned the toaster on.
Have you ever noticed that toasters don't toast if you don't turn them on? Every morning I have to say "Toaster, I love you, you hot, sexy brute." If I don't say that, it just sulks and refuses to turn the bread brown.
But this morning, things were different. I turned the toaster on, and it exploded and burst into flames and that was the end of my breakfast. The explosion was loud, and it made me jump. The flames went out all by themselves after a couple of seconds. There was never any danger. But morning starvation seemed imminent. Fortunately Robin had some spare cereal and the milk wasn't too rancid. I coped.
But now I've had to buy a new toaster.
My new toaster has deep slots for large bread and dynamic braces to hold the bread firmly in the optimum toasting position, no matter what its thickness. My new toaster has stay cool sides which are shiny silver so that I can stare into them and watch my reflection trim its moustache while the bread toasts itself perfectly deep inside the machine. My new toaster even has a stay cool bottom, exactly like my own. It has a button specially for crumpets and another one for frozen bread. It is a prince among toasters.
I walked straight to a shop and five minutes later I walked out of the shop with my toaster neatly wrapped and a receipt stored safely in my wallet. It wasn't hard to do and it took almost no time at all. Why couldn't any of my friends do that? Could it be, perchance, that my subtle hints were not understood?
In future I shall eschew subtlety and employ only direct instruction.