Monday 5th March. What fresh hell is this now….?

I think Annabelle might be on the run.

I picked her up from school on Friday night and she leapt into the car shouting ‘Go, Go, Go.

So I go-ed.

About three hundred yards along our narrow, rural High Street when the whiplash was really starting to bite, I slowed down to a more sedate eighty miles an hour and belatedly thought to ask where the frigging fire was.

Annabelle, who was slumped down in her seat cunningly disguised as her P.E Kit, poked the very top of her head out, peered fearfully over the bottom of the passenger window and hastily withdrew her head when she i-spied a gaggle of teen-kids parallel with our vehicle.

She muttered something about me shutting the windows if I want to talk to her and refused to engage in further discussion.

Fast-forward to Sunday mid-morning.

We’re walking through the apple orchard on the way to the shop so that I can pick up three Birds Eye, ‘microwave-em-in-nine-minutes-flat’ Sunday roasts for lunch,’ (I do like to make a bit of an effort on a Sunday) when she suddenly, and without any warning at all, darted into a bush.

She peered out from the depths of the gloomy foliage for a moment, then rapidly scanning the immediate environment, nervously emerged, picking twigs and other assorted crap out of her hair.

As much fun as taking a cat for a walk on a hot tin roof probably is, I have to say that the ambient level of anxiety was starting to make me want to bite her.

On arriving at the shop, which she approached with the trepidation and caution that people normally reserve for volcanoes, sharks and tax-men, it appears that the unthinkable actually went right ahead and happened.


A small boy, around the same size as Annabelle was exiting the shop as she attempted to gain entry.

Eyes wide with fear, frozen to the spot, he looked at her.

She, in turn, looked back at him.

With one swift movement, he rapidly mobilised his limbs, darted round her and emitting a piercing scream that sounded very much like ‘Aaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh,’ ran hell for leather up the road until both his terrified howling and his Ben 10 back-pack faded into the distance, and then disappeared altogether.

I was so busy watching his retreating figure that it took me a second to realise that, disappearing over the horizon in the other direction was Annabelle.

Call me suspicious but in my experience, this can mean only one of two things.

Either my daughter has changed her name to Annabelle Soprano, and he knows that she knows that he knows, something incredibly incriminating about her.

Or she’s got herself a little boyfriend.

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