I come from a working class family where we were only allowed the central heating on if the temperature fell below -10C and my baby sister started to turn a pale blue colour.
By the age of nine I was working 9am-5pm at the local shop. I didn’t sleep in a bed until I was in my early teens. Most shockingly of all, I didn’t have my first asparagus spear until I was 22.
Mrs Canavan, on the other hand, enjoyed a more luxurious upbringing. Her family ate food that didn’t come out of the freezer, holidayed in exotic climes like France, and owned clothes that hadn’t previously belonged to an older relative.
In short, she has always been posher than me – she pronounces her aitches, puts potpourri on the lounge coffee table, showers more than once a week… that kind of thing.
Unfortunately this also makes her slightly snobby and means she has a habit of wanting completely unnecessary things, something that reared its head again on her birthday.
Ahead of the day, I asked her what she wanted, rather hoping, as I hope each year, that she’ll reply: ‘Nothing darling, having you is more than enough – save your money and spend it on yourself instead, maybe go out and buy a new guitar, you know, that Martin Dreadnought 00-28 you’ve always wanted.’
However, instead she said: ‘I’d like a Nespresso please.’
This threw me because I had no idea what a Nespresso was.
‘It’s a machine which makes coffee,’ she said.
‘Oh, like a kettle’, I replied, confused.
‘No, it makes proper coffee,’ she said in a slightly condescending tone, as if talking to a complete oaf as opposed to her husband – though, in her eyes, they’re the same thing.
‘But a kettle does make proper coffee,’ I protested, only to be told in no uncertain terms that ‘instant coffee is not real coffee’ – which means that apparently I’ve spent the last 41 years drinking fake stuff.
Upon further questioning, it transpired that these Nespresso machines can cost several hundred quid.
‘That’s rather a lot of money,’ I said to Mrs Canavan.
‘Yes,’ she said, completely unperturbed. ‘And don’t forget you also need to buy the coffee pods to go in them’.
I checked online. She was right. These ‘pods’, whatever that means, are basically different flavours, costing about £20 a pack, and with impossibly daft and pretentious names like Rosabaya de Colombia and Dulsao do Brasil.
‘You do realise we have a baby now, you’re on maternity leave, and money is in short supply,’ I gently pointed out.
‘You never ever think of me or what I want, do you?’ she shouted, sounding not unlike a character from a daytime TV soap, and flounced out of the kitchen, taking, I noted, a cup of kettle-made and perfectly fine instant coffee with her.
Now I’m a caring, loving man but how bonkers is it that coffee from a jar costing a couple of quid is no longer good enough?
It started, of course, with all these shops that begun springing up on our high streets around 20 years ago – Starbucks, Costa and the like, selling oddly-titled drinks like cappuccinos, lattes, and flat whites.
Since then it’s got out of control. I looked, for instance, on the Starbucks website and currently on its menu is a drink called ‘Mini Caramel Popcorn Cream Frappuccino’.
I – and I suspect no one else – has any idea what that actually is, but Starbucks describe it as ‘popcorn brittle mixed with milk and popcorn syrup and topped with whipped cream, butterscotch drizzle and popcorn brittle’.
I ask you, what’s wrong with a mug of Mellow Bird’s? The world has gone mad.
However, because Mrs Canavan is my wife, we cohabit and therefore it is in my interest to keep her vaguely happy so I’m allowed to watch Match of the Day – so I followed her orders and went shopping for this Nespresso thing.
The salesman at the store I went to urged me to get the cheapest one as, in his words, ‘they all pretty much do the same thing’.
Naturally I followed his advice. Mrs Canavan opened it on her birthday, looked disappointed, and asked if I had the receipt.
She has since been back to the shop and bought a more expensive one, paying the difference on the joint account card.
I have stubbornly refused to use it and will continue drinking coffee made by adding boiling water to some instant powder, which tastes absolutely fine and is a damn sight cheaper.