Dom Joly: Note to Health & Safety (Sky Division): fix my telly or someone will die

Click to follow

It's only when really serious things go wrong in your life that you realise how trivial your normal worries are. Our satellite dish has been struck by lightning and we have been without television for more than 24 hours. For the first hour or so we tried to make a joke of it. I got out some candles and tried to do a magic lantern show but the children started crying and I inadvertently set fire to my makeshift theatre. We eventually put the kids to bed three hours early as we didn't really know what else to do with them. Stacey and I then sat staring at the big blank screen trying to think of what to do. You townies take TV for granted but in the country it's literally a matter of life and death. In the great power cut of 2002 the domestic murder rate in Swindon rose a staggering 200 per cent over two days. Down here there's really very little else to do but murder a close relative if the TV is on the blink.

It's only when really serious things go wrong in your life that you realise how trivial your normal worries are. Our satellite dish has been struck by lightning and we have been without television for more than 24 hours. For the first hour or so we tried to make a joke of it. I got out some candles and tried to do a magic lantern show but the children started crying and I inadvertently set fire to my makeshift theatre. We eventually put the kids to bed three hours early as we didn't really know what else to do with them. Stacey and I then sat staring at the big blank screen trying to think of what to do. You townies take TV for granted but in the country it's literally a matter of life and death. In the great power cut of 2002 the domestic murder rate in Swindon rose a staggering 200 per cent over two days. Down here there's really very little else to do but murder a close relative if the TV is on the blink.

I'm trying hard to wean myself off the "magic rectangle" as Victor Lewis-Smith calls it. In fact I think that I'm going through a bit of a "change". Following my purchase of a pedometer to encourage me to go on pointless walks I've started to go a bit overboard. First, I've bought a little pocket book to carry with me that enables me to identify the different trees that I walk past, surely the first sign of madness.

Second, two days ago I was so determined to break the 20,000 step barrier that I completely lost track of where I was. After two hours of obsessive speed walking I realised that it was getting dark and I was lost. I eventually came across a road and was forced to hitchhike back home. The gentleman who picked me up seemed to think that a certain sexual favour was par for the course in return for his kindness. Luckily I managed to convince him that my shaving rash was advanced herpes and got away with it.

My change is exposing itself in a glut of outdoor pursuits. Stacey bought me flying lessons for our anniversary but she keeps booking me in on stormy days. Ever since a friend's plane exploded in mid-air over France she has been keen for me to take up the sport.

I like to think that she thinks this would be a fitting tribute to him but I don't know... Meanwhile I'm writing this in the departure lounge at Heathrow. I'm off to Dominica (not the Dominican Republic) to learn to scuba dive. I've just bought two novels by Ernest Hemingway and I'm getting really excited about having a knife on my belt for a couple of weeks ...

Maybe I should go on one of those "man" weekends (no, not that sort)? The kind where you all go off into the woods and build fires and let out your inner lion by roaring at each other in smoke-filled tents. I bet they wouldn't allow us to watch television and I would be forced to let my inner grumpy bear out and that might cause problems in the group so perhaps I'll just leave it.

Stacey has just rung: the Sky man is coming to fix our telly so everything will be all right when I get back. I hope it will, anyway. The problem with Sky men is that they are very good at fixing stuff unless the dish is over six feet off the floor or there is a tree within 600 yards of the property. Then they turn up and announce that, due to health and safety regulations, they cannot perform the only job that they are trained to do. What they don't understand is that, due to my own health and safety regulations, if they don't fix my TV, then someone's going to die tonight. The last time this happened I stole the man's keys, locked him in the wine cellar and told him that he wasn't going to see daylight again until he fixed my dish. Remarkably it was done in under half an hour. Must go: I've just spotted a little glass room with free TV, here in the departure lounge. It's the CNN business news which I'm a sucker for, especially when they advertise their own channel. Gripping.

Comments