We were an hour away from home, labouriously wending our way up the mountain pass to León in our cumbersome motorhome when Richie happened to mention that he’d eaten some croquetas earlier. Hmmm. I looked at him. ‘I really wish you hadn’t told me that,’ I said. ‘Why? You hungry?’ ‘No. Well, yes actually, but it’s not that. It’s just now I’m going to worry all weekend that you left the deep fat fryer plugged in.’ He tutted. ‘Oh don’t be silly. I’m sure I unplugged it.’ ‘What, like the last three times you’ve used it?’ ‘Oh come on. That’s not fair. It was once.’
Silence descended and Richie returned to concentrating on coaxing the van up the steep, curving road. I sat wrapped in my thoughts of deep fat fryers and house fires, doing rapid risk-likelihood analysis and googling ‘what happens when you leave a deep fat fryer plugged in for 48 hours’ on my phone. The results weren’t reassuring.
‘I’m sorry. I can’t get it out of my mind. I’m going to have to see if Susana (our neighbour who feeds the cat when we’re away) is home and can pop round.’ Richie shrugged. ‘If you think it’s necessary.’ ‘I do.’
And I did. Much as I hate putting people out, especially when it’s probably for nothing more than a neurotic itch that I needed to scratch, the potential disaster was great enough to overcome my natural reticence. Susana was home and agreed to drop round straight away and message me after she’d been. I breathed a sigh of relief, settled back into the passenger seat and returned to contemplating the views.
It took me a few seconds to process her message when it came through 10 minutes later, Spanish text-speak and unexpected content combining to scramble my comprehension. ‘Flippin’ heck!’ I blurted. ‘It bloody was plugged in.’ We looked at each other. I tried (and failed) to stop my eyebrows shooting up into my hairline as I gave Richie my most school marm-ish look. ‘You are so BANNED from ever using that fryer again.’
Isn’t it lovely when you know your other half so well that you can deduce the possibility of their burning your house down from a throwaway comment about what they had for lunch? Just call me Miss Marple.