Alarm bells started ringing ...

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Twenty-one years of marriage and 19 years of parenthood have taught me one valuable lesson, and it is this. While you’re enjoying a few drinks together on a Saturday night, never slip on your wife’s chunky favourite ring for a laugh.

And certainly don’t squeeze it over the knuckle of your ring finger. Not even once.

You’d be amazed how quickly tipsy giggles turn to blind panic when what was originally an expensive and thoughtful Christmas present just won’t budge and you end up going back to the jewellers where you bought it to have the b***** thing cut off. Yeah, it sounds like a particularly cliché-ridden episode of Terry And June when they let the work experience kid have a go at writing.

And when you chuck in the fact that I had to go to church the next morning and shake hands with just about every member of the congregation during the Peace with it stuck on my swollen, sausage-like finger like some diamond encrusted electronic tag, I wasn’t feeling very holy.

Once the jeweller had stopped laughing, he was very helpful and cut it off in about two minutes. He quoted a price of about double what I thought was fair and sent it off for repair. A week or two later it came back good as new and we put it all behind us. No harm done.

Or so we thought.

This all happened some time ago but came back to haunt me when this blasted ring snapped where it had been cut and sealed and needed fixing again.

Of course, repair work is only guaranteed for 12 months so I’ve shelled out roughly one third of its original cost to get it fixed. Twice.

My wife sometimes thinks she married an idiot.

I’m beginning to think she might be right.

SOUTH AMERICA UPDATE: Daughter #1 and her buddy are enjoying a holiday on Colombia’s Caribbean coast at the end of their three-month holiday around South America that, judging by the Instagram pictures, looks like how you’d imagine heaven.

They’re due back in England around dawn