The wonderful woodstove which warms Granny in the evenings has two big reinforced glass doors. It also has a tiled base. The tiled base is full of cracks because Beloved will insist in hacking out kindling for the fire there before he lights it.
'Why can't you make your kindling outside, Beloved?'
'The proper place to make it is on the hearth. These tiles just aren't strong enough. We'll have to replace them with something stronger.'
'Meantime, why don't you cut the kindling outside?'
'No. This is the place to do it. I'll replace them soon.'
Granny sighs and takes to requesting Mr Handsome to cut kindling. Beloved claims it isn't the right kind of kindling and continues to cut his own, to the further detriment of the tiles, which are now more crack than anything else. Granny has prevailed on him to postpone their replacement till the fire is no longer needed. He claims the work should only take a morning but she doubts that very much and Mr Handsome backs her view.
The glass doors to the stove don't fare any better. Beloved never just closes, he SLAMS them. Granny remonstrates from time to time. A few days ago, watching the glass shiver, she said: 'You'll break it if you go on treating it like that.'
'No it won't, ' said Beloved. 'It's much too strong.'
Two days later, when she came into the sitting-room in the morning he said; 'Come and look at what's happened.'
Granny looked. One door is cracked from side to side. 'I warned you,' she said.
'You're making it up, you're always saying you've said things when you haven't.' (Beloved's form of defence, you have to understand, is always attack.) 'I'll get Mr Handsome to put a rivet in tomorrow, that will hold the thing together,'
That night, slam, slam as usual; the broken glass judders more than ever. 'You'll make it come out of its frame, Beloved.'
'No it won't. It's too well fixed.'
When the fire has heated up, Granny gingerly pulls the broken door open; it falls off its hinge at once.
'Now look what you've done?' said Beloved, before Granny can say 'I told you so.' 'You always are so clumsy.'
Mr Handsome has gone off this morning in search of new glass and, possibly, some strong slate to replace the tiles in due course.
Why is that your best Beloved is also the person who annoys you above anyone on earth? And vice versa?