My dishwasher broke down before Christmas, at the same time as my washing machine and tumble drier. Because the latter two were still under guarantee, I got a Comet engineer to come out to fix them. While he was thus engaged, I mentioned my defunct dishwasher to him, and he said that he did a bit of repair work on the side and would come back round to fix it - which, eventually, he did, for the sum of £50.
Between Christmas and New Year the dishwasher started making the same ominously dry clunking noises as before and then turned its face back to the wall. I switched it off and phoned the engineer ... once ... twice ... then gave up and bought a pair of Marigolds. Trying to keep the kitchen tidy enough for him to visit was far more stressful than clettering dishes with a thorn twig and dreaming of the summer sales and a trip to Cribbs Causeway.
I was away for a few days over Easter, and upon my return, was surprised to discover that the dishwasher was in mid cycle. And there was water running through it. I asked my younger son if he had put it on. No, came the answer. Well, had anyone been round to fix it while I was away - the engineer, perhaps? My dextrous brother-in-law, Alan? No.
Then I had it - Shaun over the road! He and his wife, Cathy, have keys to my house and once, despairing at my slovenliness, they'd bought me a replacement kitchen bin which hadn't fitted under the sink. Fixing the dishwasher unbeknownst to me was just the kindly sort of thing they would do, and since my youngest has become nocturnal during the Easter holidays, he wouldn't even have realised they'd done it. 'No,' said Cathy as I was poised to thank her. 'It wasn't us.'
So - it looks like I have a good-hearted ghost? A philanthropic poltergeist? Or maybe some handy house elves that have graduated from cobbling? Although if mentioning them in a blog is the 21st century equivalent of leaving out little suits of clothing, I shall most likely never see hide nor hair of them again.