SOMETIMES, Americans are just unfathomable.

Guns, yes. Fireworks? No.

As we’ve seen this week, it’s quite acceptable for someone to amass an arsenal of semi automatic assault weapons, no questions asked, fireworks are a different matter.

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Fireworks are dangerous. Some states ban them outright – with six months in jail for possession. Most have very strict controls on when and where they can be bought, often in pop-up shops away from densely populated areas.

Other states ban any fireworks that leave the ground. No holding your breath while the rocket soars skyward. And Roman candles are definitely dodgy.

Virtually all states have at least licenses and limits and strict controls on the buying of fireworks.

Yet guns, as we sadly know, are easy to buy.

When we did a Texas houseswap years ago, we got used to signs at supermarket entrances saying “No handguns in store.” And parked pick-ups with a heap of shot guns and rifles in the back.

Back at the ranch there was a tiny pearl-handled gun in my bedside drawer. “To make you feel safe, honey” – and actually having the totally opposite effect. And above both front and book doors hung ready-loaded shot guns to be grabbed instantly in case of rattlesnakes, intruders or maybe just people we didn’t like.

Fireworks are legal in Texas but their sale is strictly controlled and permitted only in the two weeks before the fourth of July.

Guns are part of the American way of life. But sparklers? Ooh no, much too dangerous.

SO now we’ve forgotten how to do the washing-up….

So many of us rely on dishwashers (As do I, only he’s called the husband and a great job he does) that the Good Housekeeping Institute has issued guidelines. You know the drill, glasses first, roasting tins last, not exactly rocket science.

It’s not the only skill that’s been lost.

A TV piece on the 50th anniversary of Radio 1 showed that most under twenties haven’t a clue about how to work a radio.

And what about a payphone?

Last summer on the narrow dales road above Reeth – where there’s still no mobile phone signal but there is an increasingly rare and isolated phone box – I spotted a mother carefully explaining to her children (a) what it was and (b) how to work it and (c) about 999.

They looked at her as though it was the equivalent of lighting a fire by rubbing two sticks together. But one day it could be a lifesaver.

And even more important than clean dishes.

THE sheet must be at least 60 years old - probably bought in the early years of my parents’ marriage before my mother’s fancy turned to coloured sheets and patterns.

This sheet is plain white, made of thick, heavy cotton, worn soft by endless washings in the old wash boiler, hung out to dry in the Welsh sun on the line between the apple trees, then aired on the rack above the Aga.

Because my mother always believed in keeping anything that might be useful, it came to our house in a huge bag of linen after she died, ironed and immaculately folded goodness knows how many years before.

When our first grand-daughter arrived her parents brought a travel cot for when she stayed with us, complete with cheerful sunshine yellow cot sheet. She was a restless baby and didn’t sleep well – until one day I took the old cotton sheet, folded it in four, and tucked it into the travel cot.

Maybe it was the thickness of it after the slippery polycotton yellow, maybe it was the snugness, the softness. Maybe even it was the memory of Welsh sunshine and a great grandmother she never knew. Either way, the baby slept soundly. As, subsequently, did her sister.

Much relief all round.

Last week it was the turn of grandson Fred, nine months old and a hurricane force of robust restlessness, unsettled after his parents had moved out of their London flat before going to America.

He hurtled into this strange cot and instantly crashed out every time. “Mmmm....” said my son, wonderingly.

And that’s why Great-granny’s magic sheet is in Washington DC right now. In a swish apartment in a swish part of town where everything is desperately fashionable, Freddie sleeps happily on a 60-year-old sheet.

My mother would have been thrilled to bits.

GOOD news: People working from home are more productive than those in offices. Researchers at the University of Cardiff say we do more work and are more likely to see things through. The bonus – which they don’t mention – is that you can also put the washing on or get supper started in between and don’t have to listen to other people moaning.

Bad news: Women at work pack in an extra 100,000 calories a year eating al-desko – crisps, biscuits, chocolate, a colleague’s birthday cake.

Worse news: Working at home you might not have the birthday cake, but you’ve got easy access to a whole kitchen full of nibbles and no-one watching while you eat them. Disaster.

Maybe it’s time to get an office job… THINGS we didn’t know before the internet – there’s a group of people, mainly American, who spend a small fortune trying to look just like the Duchess of Cambridge, above right. They call themselves RepliKates, buy the same clothes, try the same demure poses and post the pics on Instagram.

The pictures have suddenly vanished and the RepliKates are claiming conspiracy.

The really weird thing is that despite all that money, the clothes, the effort, none of them looks the least like Kate.

Do you think they’ve noticed?

THE Duchess of Cambridge is on the shortlist for Celebrity Mum of the Year – along with the likes of Amal Clooney, Cheryl Tweedy and Coleen Rooney.

I’m sure being a celebrity mum brings its own trials and tribulations that we ordinary mortals can’t grasps.

But whoever gets the award, I hope they share it with the nanny.

MEANWHILE, Katie Price announced this week that son Junior, 12, is launching his own fashion line and daughter, Princess, 10, has been approached to write a book.

The world’s fashion catwalks are awash with the teenage children of the famous, including Cindy Crawford’s 16-year-old daughter Kaia modelling for Chanel in Paris this week.

Brooklyn Beckham, 18, has just published his book of photographs and Rocco Ritchie is now the face of Adidas.

Of course, talent runs in families. But truly, it’s right when they say if you want to be successful in this life, you must choose your parents very carefully.