Wednesday 18th May

I woke up suddenly last night with an unexplained urge for a Big Mac Meal.

I was lying there wondering whether a national taste test would prove a preference for Burger King over McDonalds when I heard my back gate open.

Since it wasn’t actually a door into the property, I felt at that point, that the only defensive manoeuvre really required was the famous pull-the-duvet-up-up-over-your-head-and-pretend-it’s-not-happening tactic.

So there we were, the dog and I, shivering under a quilt with nothing visible of either of us but the whites of our eyes.

We were both blinking and trying not to move.

Well I was trying not to move, but the dog couldn’t resist an opportunity to try and lick my ears and climb onto my knee so in reality, there was actually a bit of a noisy scuffle going on.

Then the back door opened and we heard scuffly-creepy-creeping going on downstairs.

I think it would be fair to say that both the dog and I would have been happier to continue with our version of ‘look, I’m a pillow’ but for the fact that there’s a rumour floating around that I have some sort of legal responsibility for those freeloading-spongers, sorry, I mean kids.

With the dog reluctantly at my heels, I grabbed a book of poetry that I had lying beside my bed. An admittedly rag-tag assortment of weaponry but if the loudly-knocking limbs of my ‘attack-hound’ didn’t scare him off, I was presumably planning on reading The Owl and the Pussy-cat at him.

Take that you wicked bug-ler.

As it turned out, Hector and I didn’t get very far before we bumped headlong into a sneaky Teenager who was silently attempting to gain re-entry to his bedroom.

I was caught there, like a cat in the headlights, in one of those pivotal parenting dilemmas.

Officially, of course, I was outraged at the little sod for flouting one of the basic rules of not using the fact that your poor, exhausted mother finally fell into a twitching coma, to go all Peter Parker and transform into Spiderman.

On the other hand, I was quite impressed with his levels of deviousness and was dying to ask where he’d been. Its years since I was last invited on a sneak-along and if my memory serves me, they sure as hell beat lying around fantasising about French fries and quarter-pounders with cheese.

Stifling my urge to suggest the he wake me up and let me come along next time, I gave him a stern lecture and asked him to consider the implications of something happening to him or there being a fire or some-such.

His face, had arranged itself into that patented adolescent ‘I’m-only-pretending-to-listen-because-you-might-clobber-me-with-that-book’, stare. All kids learn it on their secondary school induction day but, eyes firmly on the book, he warily (and may I add, unconvincingly) agreed that it wouldn’t happen again.

He did point out as he backed toward his bedroom door and out of range of my poetry anthology, that in the event of a fire, his being absent from the property would probably, actually be a good thing.

Never hit a kid.

Never hit a kid.

Never, ever hit a kid.