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In my humble opinion, Covid-19 and all its works has an awful lot to answer for over the past year. Putting aside the stresses and strains of the pandemic itself and the crisis in the health of individuals and nations - the very fact that most of us are having to spend much more time than usual with our nearest and dearest has come at a price.

For instance, those harmless personal foibles of the past that occurred without too much comment being made will now set a spouse or partners teeth on edge. I suppose that it has always been the case, but - after a year of being practically glued together 24/7 those lovable ‘foibles’ of ours, can - and do cause ructions in a relationship - any relationship.

I was chatting to some male friends the other day when the subject drifted towards our spouses, or partners, annoying habits.

Within minutes all concerned were falling about laughing, because most of the things that drove us all mad were instantly recognisable by all.

Okay, maybe some of our loved-ones irritating ways might cause a wife to threaten violence - or indeed divorce towards her husband, but generally it seems that most of us are heroically stoical in the face of months-upon-months of Covid lockdown induced individual tics, twitches, and predictably annoying behaviour.

Sadly, I have to confess that in this regard it seems that men are far worse than women when it comes to exhibiting personal traits - that in any other walk of life would see the bloke get a sharp kick in the shins or the sack from his job - at the very least.

I am not talking here of a husband/partner who disappears for the night and arrives home in the early hours reeking of beer and cheap perfume - no, not with my back anyway. What most women complain about is that eye rolling, buttock clenching, brain numbing ‘thing’ that we men are supposed to do and say just to spoil their day.

For instance, one female friend cannot believe how much noise her old man makes when he blows his nose. She told me that the walls of their apartment literally shake when he when he pulls his hanky from his pocket and blows! Apparently, he sounds like a cruise ship entering Palma harbour on a foggy day.

I fear that I have a rather annoying habit as well it seems. Apparently, I will tell Julie in mind-numbing detail all about a chap who lives in a certain house in a nearby village as we drive past almost every day since various lockdowns.

She once told me that she had considered hiring a mafia hit-man if I didn’t stop it - so I only mention it every other day now - as you can’t be too careful can you?

Dear Lord it gets even worse, I was told by a kind, warm hearted, former colleague, that her bloke likes to throw his teaspoon across their kitchen when he has finished making himself a cup of coffee so that it crashes noisily in the sink as he shouts - “One hundred and eighty!” With her face contorted with rage she blazed - “I’ll swing for that b****** one day.”

So you see, not all our many eccentricities are as charming or indeed pleasant as we think they are, given the fact that our loved ones have to put up with our tiresome ways - all day, every day.

And there’s the rub; women tell me that they don’t mind the occasional outburst of annoying behaviour, but it’s the daily routine of up-ended toilet seats, knuckle cracking, nose picking and the punctured Pavarotti in the shower that eventually grinds them down.

It is also a fact that certain annoying traits and habits can mutate into other things that can get on a woman’s shredded nerves. It appears that of late, I have taken to constantly counting the small change that I keep in an old spectacle case situated on our breakfast bar. In all sincerity, I didn’t even know that I was doing it, until threatened with castration the other morning.

However, it is not just the male of the species who have become deeply tedious over the past uncertain months. For instance, I find that women are notoriously bad at sharing certain minor facts that you should only be informed of on a strictly ‘need-to-know’ basis.

Example: Do I really want to know what her friend told her on the phone this morning about - something a woman I have never heard of in my entire life, had said to her at the market last Friday?

Moreover, why does this always happen just as the Sports News appears on the television - is it the law or something? Then there is the whole business of telephone calls.

Even before this coronavirus business, women would spend hours on the telephone to family and friends - now with the invention of a free communications system such as WhatsApp it has got even worse.

As for him, there is always the constant reaffirmation of what has been said before. In other words he repeats himself endlessly, whether it be how much he dislikes both Zoe Ball and Chris Evans, to - “Don’t my geraniums look good this year?” onto “What’s for dinner?” not forgetting “Why doesn’t he use his indicators?” for the millionth time.

However dear reader, please be of good cheer, because one thing is for sure, just remember that your irritating habits will never stay the same; they may progress, or perhaps more accurately - regress, as you go through life’s journey.

Come on, if you have managed to put up with her/him on a mainly one-to-one basis for more than a year, you’ve have been through the worst of it…possibly!