To a town in the North, to stay with the LTLP’s ‘best-but-only-see-her-every-three-years’ friend.

I have my appendage’s hat firmly on, and have rehearsed my smalltalk. We park the car (I make sure to lock it as we are in the north) and go in.

Within about three nanoseconds, my role in the weekend becomes apparent. Friend has two little girls, aged about four, and I am clearly expected to keep them entertained whilst LTLP and Friend do adult conversation.

I gaze in horror as Pootles and Tootles sprint towards me to investigate. They’re still at that age when having a visitor (even a celebrity visitor like me) is a source of excitement and wonder rather than something that needlessly and rudely interrupts the Saturday newspapers.

I am very scared of kids. I am scared of their energy, and of the fact that they climb on you, and of the fact that they ask so many questions and won’t be fobbed off. Honestly. If they’d sacked the old fool and put two four-year-olds in charge of the Hutton Enquiry then Mr Campbell really wouldn’t have got off so lightly.

Being with four-year olds is like being sober when everybody else is drunk.

“Why don’t you ask Jonny to read you a story?” enquires the LTLP, sweetly.

I shoot her a WMD glance.

“Yayyy!!! Story!!! Read us a story!!!”

I am not entirely sure about the proffered book. I glance through it, frowning. “Are you sure you want me to read them this one?” I ask Friend. “The central character seems to have an entirely irresponsible attitude to life, and appears to exist solely on benefits.”

The children were insistent.

I read them ‘Mr Nonsense’.

I glanced at my watch.

Thirty minutes down. Only around twenty-two hours to go.

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