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Ladies, don't kick off about football, score a few points

You know at the end of horror movies when everyone thinks that the Monster or the Ghoul or the Thing is dead and all the high school kids can breathe easier and then suddenly the Evil One's hand smashes through the door, the top soil of a grave, the surface of the swimming pool?

For Monster read 'Football' and for high school kids read 'Women Everywhere' and for 'the Evil One's hand' read 'Adrian Chiles' - that just about describes the last few days. Just after we thought it was the first day of summer when Chelsea lifted the European Cup, the Euros come crashing through the door, dripping with blood and tedium.

Two games a day for 12 days before we even get the blessing of a football free day - and then the knockout stages begin.

How do you stop it? Silver bullets? Stakes through Gary Lineker's heart? Cutting off Gareth Southgate's head?

But, of course, you can't. Not on terrestrial television anyway. So every day expect your, ahem, better half to be ensconced on the sofa waiting for the big five o'clock kick off. The big game - after analysis - will end about 7pm, allowing them to flick over to the even bigger game kicking off at 7.45pm.

So, Mr Uefa, that's blanket coverage from 4-10.30pm every day - even on days when England aren't playing. When John Terry and the legends don the Three Lions expect coverage to begin after your first bowl of muesli. Still, as the proverb goes, when life gives you very bitter lemons, you should make very bitter lemonade.

The first thing, of course, is all that free time when, in his heart of hearts, he knows you're not interested in why England will never win anything while the footballing culture remains as it is.

This means you can more or less get away with anything - doing 'late night shopping' which means a quick dash round the aisles and two hours sitting at a cafe enjoying an almond slice and the latest copy of Heat. If pushed you can get away with a good hour plus by nipping down the shop for a carton of semi-skimmed. Also, there's payback time in watching your man slowly succumbing to hoary old national sterotypes. If England are 'whole hearted', the Germans approach each game with 'typical teutonic efficiency', the Spanish are 'passionate' while Italians play a 'worldly' game.

The Irish will also display 'pluck' and make up for their lack of 'silky continental skills' with 'remarkable team spirit'. Of course, all this is on a good day. On a bad day, the Latins are 'cynical' and the Germans are 'dour' ... or worse.

But that's all small beer, of course. It may sound a little bit rom-commy but it's really a golden opportunity for the squirrelling away of Brownie points to be traded in later. Apart from agreeing to forget all his insightful analysis of national failings, just enduring weeks of this stuff earns emotional cash. Not going to the latest Colin Firth flick? Who suffered watching grown men sucking up to Roy Keane? A visit to a National Trust property? Who had to endure a nil-nil draw in that epic Greece v Czech Republic clash? Saturday shopping? Who had to watch a beetroot-faced Wayne Rooney running very slowly and occasionally cursing?

We talking a golden key here, ladies. How can he say no to anything when you have the Ace of Spades up your sleeve: "If it wasn't for you, I'd have no idea what 'playing a free role in the pocket just behind the main man' means. See what you've done to me?"

The only thing left to do with a hand like that is scoop your chips into your handbag and smile knowingly. And there's the added joy of knowing the whole truth.

That while he thought you were suffering every step of the way to Warsaw, you were spending 90% of your time watching ITV2 on the bedroom TV and taking wee breaks to throw microwaved sausage rolls at him and mutter something about it being a "game of nip and tuck" or "it looks like end-to-end stuff".

Football. It really is the "beautiful game".