2023 kicked off as expected. A few months in and my luck continues on the downward trajectory where everything I touch seems to turn to mould. Coming out of the never-ending wait for the January pay cheque to hit my account, everything I seemed to come into contact with, broke.

Firstly, as I attempted to soak some knowledge of break even charts into young minds, an arm snapped clean off my glasses and left me looking like a poor man’s Jack Duckworth. After a firm disagreement with the opticians, they convinced me that a year’s use was acceptable for a pair of overpriced Boss spectacles before mugging me for a few hundred quid to replace them.

I then spent two weeks with a scratched up pair found in the recesses of the sock drawer and, much to my disdain, not one person noticed until my fourth headache that day culminated in some audible groans and a half hearted ‘you OK?’ health enquiry.

I jumped in the car that evening and turned the key as the biting cold surrounded me and left me wishing I hadn’t shaved my head the night before. No power left me banging my head against the steering wheel, which caused one of the lenses of scratched glasses to pop out as I spotted a late entrant to the car park and approached them half bespectacled as she gingerly reached for the Mace in her clutch bag.

After a one-eyed jump start, half blind and now matted in oil, I arrived home to find the dishwasher had broken. Not a catastrophe by any stretch as we still had a sink, the evening was spent searching for the household insurance which I then recall I had set at a £450 claim excess.

Oh, what fun I had that evening as I managed to fix the door before falling into bed and hearing a snap as another slat holding the mattress up broke and I slept at an angle exacerbating my back problems once more.

Another morning jump start commenced after waving down a passing motorist, who was not impressed but helped nonetheless, before wondering why I was less popular than ever as my phone hadn’t pinged all morning, only to find the Samsung Z flip, also a year into its life, had died a death courtesy of a catastrophic software error.

Bored of my luck, I slipped on the lycra the next day in an attempt to shed some excess flab and ground myself with the sounds and sights of nature on my two-wheel steed. I wheeled her out of the shed to notice the wheel had a huge hole in the rim which is now costing me three-and-a-half ton to rectify. I then spent the day in lycra with my makeshift monocle, cleaning a broken car without even the option of phoning someone to have an offload session as, well, everything I had touched thus far this year had broken into a million squillion teeny tiny pieces.

And so I sat, alone, in a less than flattering skin-tight one piece in my summerhouse and wondered what to do with my downtime as the wife and kids were out and I had a pass. No transportation, half blind and with no way of communicating with the outside world, I sat in silence, alone with my thoughts and found a huge smile breaking across my face.

This is what folk had to do pre-1980s I thought. No tech distractions with which to bind oneself up in knots. No one-upmanship, seeing who can, in lieu of the truth, post the happiest posed pictures on Facebook to fool the world into believing theirs was a life of blessed utopia before jumping in the car for an ‘essential’ trip to the nearest Sainsburys for a dab of toilet duck and a tin of bully beef.

No, I thought. Everything happens for a reason and God’s plan for me then provided some clarity: He wishes me to be skint and surrounded by disaster, and I felt at one with that. It’s quite a thing to have your soul being taken over by the spirit of Frank Spencer I thought, as I immersed myself once again into a little bit of trouble…

  • Brett Ellis is a teacher