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 Laying the table has become something of a lottery. For some reason, half my cutlery has gone walkies.

It’s not like I treat it badly, overwork or mishandle my knives and forks, quite the opposite. My cutlery is positively free-range.  I can’t for the life of me figure out where it’s gone. Sure, some of it might have been accidentally left behind on a picnic (that’s why we have picnic cutlery) or with a packed lunch at work (use No 2 for picnic cutlery).  But it’s not like I’ve opened the back door, let it sniff the air and then cruelly locked it all away, never to be seen again.  My cutlery has enjoyed parties, cake, all manner of goodies – you could say it’s having a good life.  There was a dodgy moment when the grapefruit spoons were employed to squeeze tea-bags, but we’ve all moved on from that and co-exist quite happily.

Perhaps the living conditions are a little crowded, but that’s only to be expected when you’ve too many implements for drawers.  And the rolling pin, barbeque skewers, sweetcorn holders, novelty Christmas wine stoppers, nutmeg grater, lemon squeezer, tongs, pasta measurer, magnetic measuring spoon, three corkscrews, lemon zester, and all their friends need somewhere to live.

As far as I know, my fighting irons haven’t started a petition to be cast out into the wild, free to be used by all and sundry. Or if they have, I haven’t found it yet.

The Other Half thinks I should clear out the drawer, thus hunting out any cutlery which may have made it ‘over the fence’.  But that will destroy my carefully balanced drawer filing system, by which I can take out what I need by touch only, useful when I’m making a meringue or a cake and need to keep the hand-held mixer going and balanced with one hand, reaching for the necessities with the other in a gymnastically perfect act of synchronicity.  And then my meringues will crack and my cakes will sink, and no-one will be happy.

Also, the drawer will never close again, becoming mysteriously caught on some implement or tool, doomed to be just out of reach.

Maybe I’ll do a deal with him.

I’ll tidy out the drawer when he’s treated me to a KitchenAid, and can operate hands-free.  In return I will replace the Cutlery That Was. Order and neatness will reign in the kitchen.  Until it comes to putting away the KitchenAid.   

There’s no space in the cupboards. So it would have to live on the worktops, which, since they are such pretty beasts, would be no hardship for me.

But it would drive him nuts. He can’t understand why I am perfectly happy to have all manner of kitchen tools within reach and on show.  So then he’d want me to find a space to put it away.  Which would be impossible.

Clearly, we need a bigger kitchen. With more cupboard space.

Then we’d all be happy. The cutlery could roam unfettered through a larger room, the drawer filing system would be relaxed, and the KitchenAid could have a special cupboard all to itself.