Sir Edmund Hillary couldn’t scale this particular mountain | BBC Radio Solent's Alun Newman

My first introduction to hair straighteners was my own dad shouting things out into the ether.

Monday, 25th November 2019, 10:50 am
Updated Monday, 25th November 2019, 4:57 pm
Hair straighteners - Alun can't beat them so he's made his peace with them
Hair straighteners - Alun can't beat them so he's made his peace with them

‘Please don’t leave hot tongs on tables!’ ‘Who’s burned the top of the chest of drawers!’

I took no notice. It didn’t affect or connect with me.

It had something to do with my sisters and, like most things your parents shout about, I never really understood that they might have meant me.

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For most of my childhood, my dad would walk back in from work in the winter months and make a big demonstration while loudly voicing ‘Can nobody close the curtains in this family?’

I never once thought he might be talking to me. I only registered that thought when I found myself doing the same thing with my own clan.

Hair straighteners creep up on you.

I’ve never used them and now, sadly, am unlikely to be able to use them. However, they appear.

At first it doesn't matter as they’re left to cool in bedrooms, front rooms and kitchens with their cables unfurled and strewn behind them.

Then I begin to notice their impact as they leave the tattoos of success, two small burn lines, on top of tables, drawers and wooden chairs.

I campaign for them to be tidied but it’s impossible. They're too hot and then they’re forgotten.

Sometimes they do manage to get coiled, however, they’ll only make it to the bottom step of the staircase.

Even if Edmund Hillary had straightened his hair he would have found the prospect of scaling this impossible gradient too much and would have left them. He’ll move them later.

When I summon suspects to see if I can mastermind some kind of behaviour change the perpetrator denies all knowledge with a straight face and even straighter hair.

The straighteners are often accompanied by expensive serums, heat protecting sprays and mists of various descriptions.

The cost of these products is never discussed. New ones appear before others are finished because key influencers have advised that a product is life-changing, amazing and revolutionary. My life is similar to Sisyphus, sentenced to pushing the rock up the mountain only for it to roll back.

I’m caught in my own Greek life sentence, except the rock is a pair of ceramic plates and the mountain the stairs.

It was once a frustration, now I am learning to accept this as my role.

My daughter has just left the house. Her hair looks great, she looks happy. The straighteners are in front of me. Mouth open. Smiling.

They’ve won.

Would you sit on a sofa called Gary or Peter?

Why do sofas have names? I’m currently in the market for one as our current arrangement of 18 years is getting a lot of criticism.

My mother-in-law refuses to sit on it as it causes instant back ache and lamenting. My parents finding it hard to get out of it without a massive amount of huffing and puffing.

As I trawl through these stores, that always seem to have a sale, I’ve become completely obsessed with sofa names.

There’s the Anneka, Hetty and Bella. Where are the traditional bloke names? I’ve yet to see The Keith, The Gary or The Peter.

Then there’s the planets and the mystical, The Zeus, Saturn and Ariana.

However, no sign yet of The Pluto, The Mars or The Ursa Major (choice of fabrics available). Some towns and cities are doing excessively well, The Darlington, The Windsor and The Chester sound lovely and comfortable. No sign of, The Gosport, The Havant or The Fareham, but maybe it’s only a matter of time.

We do have some cities that are punching above their weight. The Portsmouth is a large corner offering, The Winchester has beautifully rolled arms and The Chichester comes with a free footstool.

Sad news for Waterlooville, Rowner and Southsea . At the moment no-one wants to sit on you.