I am often, apparently, to be found laughing out loud at recipe and gardening books. Today it's a knitting pattern book I found in the thrift shop yesterday. Elizabeth Zimmermann is (or maybe was) an English lady, brought up by a governess, who took up residence in America with her German husband in 1937. In 1974 she published a book of her knitting patterns in the form of an almanac. It is littered with conversational interludes and 'governessy' guidance in a very no-nonsense English fashion.
This passage really struck a chord -
" ... this is one of the few, but intense, drawbacks to old age; one forgets. In many cases forgetting seems to be a protective mechanism. The brain has slowed down and no longer has the capacity to retain irrelevant detail. Was it Thursday or Friday of the week before last that the Old Man saw those three otters in the river? Who cares what day of the week it was.
Where did I put the little blue egg-boiling pot? The brain refuses to co-operate. Never mind; use something else; the pot will turn up. Sure enough, it did. Adhering to the belief that boiled-egg water is good for houseplants, I had taken the pot to the bedroom windowsill where I am encouraging last winter's cyclamen. I found it next time I watered. Smart brain; it knew I'd find the pot eventually, and saved its waning but still valuable powers for composing a letter to a desperate knitter who had miscalculated his neck-stitches."
I have tried to use a variation of this theory for explaining why I never retain details given to me by Dear Husband. If he has the information already, and I can access it any time by asking him, why waste my own brain's diminishing capacity by remembering it all myself? Needless to say, I never get away with it.