I do this occasionally, as we are close.
The email is mainly about the bound paper thing that I do not mention very often on my Private Secret Diary as I do not want to go on about it too much. My father and I have not talked about this thing a lot, as I am a bit bashful about the whole affair, and he is a bit like me and doesn’t quite believe it exists.
‘Anyway, people can order it on the internet now,’ I type, after the stuff about the weather. ‘It is bizarre – actually a few of them seem to be buying it.’
I sign off, diffidently. I feel a bit awkward mentioning it, but one of – if not the only – real and important reason for undertaking the project concerned was that I thought my beloved father might be pleased about it. He will be delighted, proud and amazed that I have actually achieved something in my life. I cannot wait for him to open the email and to know his reaction.
My mother calls later on in the day.
“His heart, you say?!?” I repeat, clutching the receiver in some concern. “Can I speak to the paramedic?”
I speak to the Paramedic.
“He will be fine,” she says. “We are just going to put him in the ambulance, and take him to Basildon Hospital.”
My alarm increases. “Isn’t that the one that is always on the news, where nobody ever gets out alive?”
I worked at Basildon Hospital for a very short while. And my Grandmother died there. Although I am 99% sure that the events were not related, there was a certain amount of recent media attention focusing on the fact that you go in with – say – an itch, and emerge with – say – plague.
I speak to my mother again.
“It is a bit irritating,” she says. “As I am meant to have a dentist’s appointment later on.”
I sigh deeply. One of the problems with being a nearly-famous author is that you can be called upon to attend book-related events anywhere in the UK at short notice. I leave a message for the LTLP, get in the car, and drive to Basildon.