The Thing Is with Steve Canavan

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Mrs C anavan has decided she wants to start trying for another baby and I am absolutely knackered.

The reason is that she has downloaded on her phone an app (older readers should consult their grandchildren) that actually works out when she is most fertile (apologies if you’re midway through a sandwich) and tells us exactly when we should be, well, you know, getting down to business.

Now in the old days, when Mrs Canavan and I first met and we actually had feelings for each other, we would get down to business fairly regularly and it was always moderately enjoyable, mainly because we did it when we liked.

It was off-the-cuff, spontaneous.

But being instructed by a mobile phone when to do it is, I have to say, an incredibly depressing state of affairs.

The other night I was halfway through a Channel 4 documentary about a gentleman from Doncaster who lost his legs in a yachting accident when Mrs Canavan appeared at the doorway, gave me a sympathetic nod of the head, and said, ‘it’s time’.

I was slightly drowsy after a long day at work and was initially confused as to what she was referring to.

“Time for what?” I replied, puzzled.

‘You know,’ she said, ‘to go upstairs and try’.

For a moment I thought she was talking about the grouting in the bathroom – she’s been on at me to sort it for weeks because we’ve quite bad mildew between the tiles nearest the showerhead – but then I realised, with horror, what she really meant.

“Oh god, do we have to?” I blurted, which I’m pretty sure wasn’t my response the first time Mrs Canavan invited me to the bedroom a decade or so ago.

‘I’m afraid so,’ she said, slowly, with all the solemnness of a vet informing you he’s got no other option than to put down your beloved 15-year-old Cocker Spaniel.

I sighed heavily.

‘Look,’ she said, ‘I don’t want to do this either. In fact there’s nothing I’d rather do less. I’ve got a headache and my athlete’s foot has flared up again, but we need to do it. So let’s just go and get it over and done with.’

As arousing speeches go, it was on a par with Hitler at Nuremberg.

So we climbed the stairs, went into the back bedroom and half-heartedly – perhaps maybe even quarter-heartedly – went through the motions.

Whatever the definition or romantic is, this was the opposite.

Indeed at one point I glanced up to find Mrs Canavan sending a text message on her phone.

‘Sorry,’ she said, noticing me staring at her, ‘I forgot to ring the electrician about that plug socket in the lounge’.

It was less Lady Chatterley’s Lover, more Nightmare on Elm Street.

Still, we carried on until the bitter end, deriving no enjoyment from it whatsoever – the whole experience not unlike watching a Manchester United Champions League match.

Over the past four weeks I have had to do this kind of thing on a regular basis, something which has left me so exhausted that I now fall asleep during The One Show – though I’m often woken by Mrs C if her app makes a peeping sound and tells her it’s a good time.

I also have a terribly inflamed left groin and am not half as effective on the five-a-side pitch as I used to be.

On the off-chance you’re trying for a baby and want to suffer in the same way I am, there are loads of these baby-making apps to choose from.

Take one by the name of Fertility Friend for example. It’s free, but for $45 you get advanced features like – and I’m not making this up – ‘an intercourse timing analyser’ (me neither) and VIP access to message boards,.

It’s all very depressingly modern and makes you wonder how anyone ever got pregnant in days gone by.

I’d write more but I’m tired, my groin hurts, and I need a lie down, so till next week…