10 years? How can I have been monogamous, with a male, for 10 years!? I’m convinced it’s mainly because he makes me feel so safe. I’m increasingly of quite a nervous and delicate disposition. I don’t know if it’s age, or becoming a mother, but I think I cope less well under stress these days. And Jon undoes that, he rescues me and provides endless amounts of protective scones. (Scones and protection are something the character Tony in Men Behaving Badly offers the object of his affection Deborah, in order to convince her that he’s the man for her, so they’re aren’t any actual scones, Jon just once romantically offered me the same deal and it’s a moment often quoted.)

Yesterday afternoon I was asked out on a date, by Jon, how marvellous, I hate leaving the chaps so the short term planning worked well, and I knew they’d be safe at bedtime with their Aunty Becky, who was in on the planning. Such an occasion requires a shower, I’d planned to shave every bit of me that should be smooth but isn’t, but my plans were thwarted as Eddie and Ruru wanted to join me in the shower. I thought it was perhaps a good idea, we’re planning camping trips this year they need to learn to be relaxed in showers. It went really well, apart from my shaving ambitions. I was all prepared, I had the boys’ dressing gowns ready and waiting, but I froze naked whilst I lifted them out and wrapped them up. Then, all of a sudden, all 3 fire alarms in our tiny house started. They’re new, they’re wired into the mains and good God they’re loud. I panicked, threw on my dressing gown, stood the boys in my bedroom and shouted, “Don’t move!” I headed downstairs in search of fire. I’m terrified of fire and often catastrophise about what I would do in the circumstances, but abandoning my children upstairs has never been part of the plan. Fortunately there was no fire. The alarms were shrieking incessantly causing inate panic. I ran back up to my bedroom and the boys had gone! I screamed, “Where are you?” Had they been taken? Were they burnt to death? Gone? “WHERE ARE YOU!” The terror and my abandonment had driven them under our bed. I pulled them close and sat them on our bedroom chair. I needed to stop these alarms. I jabbed at them, holding the button down, nothing. I rang Jon. Near to tears I demanded he came home. Then I heard banging, loud banging. I was halfway downstairs naked and heard my 2 lady neighbours shouting and banging their way through my door. I flung the door open, naked, dressing gown undone and screamed as though I’d seen a ghost, even though I knew who it was. By this point I was also in floods of tears. My 2 neighbours quickly established we were not dying in a fire and I had not lost my children, I have a really loud scream. They tried desperately to stop the alarms which could be heard from some distance, but even a hammer could not silence them. During this time Jon had made contact with the electrician who’d fitted them and he phoned to say he was on his way home. I gathered up my boys and got them dressed. I put them in my living room with my elderly neighbour and went to get dressed as quickly as possible. I’ve pulled the muscles in my chest from fighting with my bra, so sticky from shower and panic induced sweat that nothing fitted and my bra refused to do up. IS THIS MY BRA? HAVE THESE HOOKS BROKEN? GO GO GO YOUR CHILDREN ARE TERRIFIED! I even put my dirty knickers back on, how upsetting. Me and the chaps were taken to the relative quiet next door where I was sat down and made a cup of sweet tea. I’m so grateful to have such caring neighbours. Jon finally turned the alarms off nearly 40 minutes after they started. In doing so he got wet. Our blissful family shower, our anniversary date, had caused all this alarm. The kitchen ceiling was dripping, right through the electrics for the alarm. How alarming.


We still went on our date, I’m so glad we did, it was perfect, and I needed calming down.


We parked in exactly the same spot we had done on that day 10 years ago, only with a slightly bigger model of Ford, bigger tummys and bigger responsibilities. Had someone forewarned us 10 years ago where we’d be in 10 years time, I think we’d have taken their predictions with a pinch of salt but both silently have felt quite alarmed.


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