My husband and I don't argue very often and when we do it's likely to blow over as quickly as it's blown up. But there's always one exception to every rule and our exception occurred back in the early 2000s, when I didn't speak to him for almost a full week.
It wasn't over anything vital like money, or work, but was, instead, over a TV programme.
The memory of our telly inspired tiff popped afresh into my head last weekend when the world and his wife seemed to stop what they were doing and tune in to watch the first episode of the latest series of Line of Duty.
Nowadays, given the amount of tv channels, digital playback and streaming options, there are few shows that make a huge proportion of the population want to sit down together and escape into a great drama at the same time, but Line of Duty seems to be one of those shows that calls for collective viewing.
It's an experience I enjoy, knowing that half the country is on the edge of their seat, or scratching their head in confusion, at the exact same time as you. Think back to EastEnders, when Den served Angie divorce papers on Christmas day, Dallas when we all switched on to discover who had shot JR, or Neighbours when Scott and Charlene, with massive matching mullets, finally made it down the aisle to the strains of 'Suddenly' by Angry Anderson. And boy, did he sound like he was really straining…
The TV show that caused all that angst between my hubby and I was 24 starring Keifer Sutherland, another of those 'watercooler' tv shows, as they're termed, the kind you'd watch at night and then pull apart in the office the next day, although in our corner of the globe 20 years ago, when 24 first appeared, you'd be doing it over a mug of tea and a chocolate biscuit. I mean, who would be buying bottled water for the office when it came out of the tap for free? How times have changed!
My husband and I had watched the entire first series together, loving the twists and turns of the story, following the tales of counter-terrorist Jack Bauer open mouthed, and we were just sitting down to view the final episode when I got a call. Could I come into work and cover a shift for a sick colleague? Cursing my bad luck, and wishing I'd left my answering machine to pick up the call, I went to get ready, leaving my other half to set the video recorder.
This of course was back in the day when, if you missed a slice of something on the small screen, your only hope of seeing it again would be if someone had managed to not only set the video to the right channel, but also record for the right duration. I seemed to have a knack of recording an hour and a half before a show began, only to run out of tape, just as a big reveal was being announced.
Shift done and all spoilers avoided, I settled down on the sofa the following night to enjoy the final slice of Jack's shenanigans. But when I put in the video, instead of a digital clock counting down and our hero tackling another ethical dilemma head on, up on my screen popped the face of Norman Stanley Fletcher and the rest of the Slade prison residents from the comedy Porridge.
Normally I'd have been delighted to watch one of my all-time favourite comedies but, having invested weeks of watching into 24, I was more than a little disgruntled to realise my husband had recorded the wrong channel. I determined to swallow my disappointment until he piped up with the words, 'Yeah, it was a good episode but it was sad when his wife died at the end'. Who can blame me for not speaking to him for a week after that and the fact that I went on to have a family with him is evidence of my very forgiving nature.
So, take my advice, if you've seen that Line of Duty episode and your other half hasn't, take Ted Hastings' advice and houl yer wheesht!