Far from marinating on a hard drive somewhere as might have happened if I were organised, this fortnight’s instalment comes to you box-fresh, as it were, after a phone call an hour ago asking where it might be. ‘Um, in my head?’ And so, like my hastily assembled GCSE Home Economics coursework (a kids’ play-mat with smiley faces so poorly sewn on they all looked in dire need of Prozac) – this may not do what it says on the tin. I am hoping for that flash of genius said to visit people under pressure, but I suspect that only happens to Stephen Fry or those under the influence of hallucinogens. I sometimes long for the latter to make the school run easier.
Last week saw The Tax Return. At this time of year, my accountant wears the hangdog expression of a reluctant executioner, and takes to muttering existential koans about filthy lucre and its transient nature. He starts January with his usual moustache and by the end of it has a beard to rival any member of a nu-folk band. It’s always struck me as bitterly unfair that after the Yuletide Shopathon, one is swiftly visited by the Taxman with nary a gift exchange in sight. Not even socks. Or a soap and talc twinset. It’s all just take, take, take with the HMRC. (Of course, you lot don’t have to bother yourselves with any of that – you probably get a Potteries gift voucher with a note apologising for troubling you with something as vulgar as a tax demand.)
If there’s nothing like a tax return to make you feel adult, then ending the week taking my son to a kids’ party made me feel like a child again. But not in a unicorns and rainbows way; for this was in deepest Primrose Hill, a rarefied enclave where, when Robert Plant’s dog starts humping yours, you can’t complain because it’s Robert Plant’s dog maaan! (This actually happened and my dog still hasn’t forgiven me, especially as she’s been spayed so there’d be no getting a settlement for the offspring of the illicit liaison). The Other Parents arranged themselves in playground formation – cool kids in a group, as close as possible to The Famous Actor (who always wears a hat. I am genuinely astonished that neither of his children were born with headgear of some sort), not-so-cool kids banished to the bouncy castle. It was a party arranged with the military precision of a Royal Wedding, conducted by an assortment of people who are amazing with kids (clearly they have none of their own yet) at 10am on a Sunday morning.
Thankfully, there was Prosecco.