A few months ago I wrote a blog called “A tart named Irene”. Basically I had a dream that my husband had a floozie on the side and the results of this caused much hilarity in our household.

But in fact my lovely husband really does have a tart. A tart of note! A Stirling Tart!

Not only is she one frosty bitch, but she’s got bad colour sense, is gaudy, bulky, overweight, not to mention incredibly demanding.

She has no qualms when it comes to sending him messages whenever the need arises. No matter what time. On a couple of occasions he has even leapt out of bed in the middle of the night and gone rushing off to her aid.

How do you stand it? I hear you all gasp. 

What a pig! What a terrible husband! How can you possibly call him lovely?

Well… dear reader, my husband is a physicist and his tart is a liquid nitrogen machine which feeds his other floozie, the MBE (molecular beam epitaxy – an epitaxy method for thin-film deposition of single crystals) a couple of floors below. If you want to know exactly what this is and does – here you go!

This MBE is the first machine of its kind in Africa and uses a lot of liquid nitrogen. It made sense to manufacture their own stuff instead of buying it… hence needing the tart in the first place. Chris et al have been trying to get the system up and running smoothly for over a year now. The whole shebang has been fraught on many different levels and has caused a fair amount of heartache to, not only my lovely husband, but also to the company that supplied the tart. (Ton tells us that this particular set-up is apparently the most complicated and challenging system that exists world-wide and they are determined to make it work properly.)

A variety of dudes have been dispatched to come and fix a selection of problems and eventually, as I mentioned in a previous blog, they sent their expert, Ton, to come and rectify the situation. Even this took a couple of goes, needing two visits. Much innovative hustling and bustling went on to determine exactly where the problem lay.

At some stage, fancy software was installed on said tart, enabling Chris (and various other dudes) to monitor the readings on the info panels housed on the equipment.

And let me tell you… these get checked and gazed at with monotonous regularity.

In fact, the info gets logged and my fanatical man diligently plots graphs too. I have a sneaky feeling this makes him adore his tart even more, because he is a graphoholic! See… the graph even looks like a heart.

On Saturday night, preciously one hour after Ton had boarded his plane and was in the process of winging his way back to The Netherlands, that wretched tart sent out an sms, which necessitated a visit to the University in the dead of night – to toggle a switch manually.

I glared at Chris with exasperation… Seriously? Again? I thought it was fixed!

He mumbled something about the machine working really well and that I could stay home – but how could I possibly miss the opportunity to go and snap some romantic rooftop photos of the Hatfield lights in the middle of the night.

That calculating tart was even more glittering than usual. Ton, to avoid dying of boredom, had lovingly polished her tank whilst waiting for gas levels to rise and various other things to stabilize.

Am hoping that the allure of this needy wench will eventually diminish at some stage, but in the meantime, I’ll have to accept that we are now a threesome!

PS – this was one of those “almost middle of the night visits”… please note my man has his slippers on – with some sexy blue booties over! (This is the MBE – it’s a “clean-room environment” and I elected to stay outside.)

Here is the Stirling Tart in all her glory! (This was before she got polished.)

By the way – this machine is now working really well – all work lovingly bestowed on this needy bitch has paid off. Ton really did a sterling job!

She is producing plenty of that chilly liquid.