Friday 22 April

9st 2. Alcohol units 4 (vg) Cigarettes 22 (but did not inhale so 11) Calories 2,842 (poor)

Nightmare Day. Richard Finch got so overexcited about the story that sucking dummies makes babies grow up stupid, as to feel that a Wake Up Britain "It's a Baby Knockout" between dummy suckers and non-dummy suckers in the studio was in any way a sane idea. Was just making my 48th phone call to random playgroups, gabbling "Hello! Wake up Britain here! Just wondering if you've got any babies whose parents feel they haven't been retarded by sucking dummies free for a televised 'It's a Knockout' this afternoon..." when my direct line rang.

"Hello, darling, it's Mummy." She sounded unusually high pitched and hysterical, "just called to say bye before I go, and hope everything goes well."

"Go? Go where?"

"Oh. Ahahahaha. I told you, Julio and I are popping over to Portugal for a couple of weeks just to see the family and so on, get a bit of a suntan before Christmas."

"You didn't tell me."

"Oh don't be a silly-willy, darling. Of course, I told you. You must learn to listen. Mind you, d'you know? I do wonder if ...


"Nothing , darling. I was just thinking about that dummy you used to suck and how you're ... never mind. Anyway, darling, just one more thing."


"I've been so busy I forgot to order my travellers' cheques from the bank."

"You can get them at the airport."

"But the thing is, darling, I'm just on my way to the airport now, and I've forgotten my banker's card."

I blinked at the phone. There was something extremely suspicious about this.

"Such a nuisance. I was wondering, you couldn't possibly lend me some cash? I mean not much, just a couple of hundred quid or something so I can get some travellers' cheques."

"Mum, I am a professional woman. I am trying to organise a baby 'It's a Knockout'," I hissed. "Can't Julio lend you some money?"

She went all huffy. "I can't believe you're being so mean, darling. After all I've done for you. I gave you the gift of life and you can't even loan your mother a few pounds."

"But how am I going to get it to you? I'll have to go out to the cashpoint and put it on a motorbike. Then it will be stolen. Where are you?"

"Oooh, well actually, as luck would have it I'm ever so close, so if you just pop out to the NatWest opposite I'll meet you there in five minutes," she gabbled. "Super, darling. Byee!"

"Bridget, where in the name of arse are you off to," yelled Richard as I tried to sneak out. "You got me those retarded dummy suckers yet?"

"Got a hot tip," I said, tapping my nose then making a dash for it.

I was waiting for my money to come, freshly baked and piping hot out of the cashpoint, wondering how my mother was going to manage for two weeks in Portugal on pounds 200, when I spotted her scurrying towards me, wearing sunglasses, even though it was pissing with rain, and looking shiftily from side to side.

"Oh there you are, darling. You are sweet, thank you very much. Must dash, going to miss the plane, byee!" she said, practically grabbing the banknotes.

"What's going on?" I said, "What are you doing outside here when it's not on your way to the airport? How are you going to manage without your banker's card? Why can't Julio lend you the money? What are you up to? What?"

For a second she looked frightened, as if she was going to cry, then her eyes fixed on the middle distance as she adopted her wounded Princess Diana look.

"I'll be fine, darling." She gave a special brave smile. "Take care," she said, in a faltering voice, hugged me quickly then was off, waving the traffic to a standstill and tripping across the road.

Definitely something odd going on.

Sunday 21 April

9st 1, alcohol units 7, cigarettes 30, calories 2,435, no of correct lottery numbers 4, minutes spent looking for lottery ticket 232

Just turned off Bafta awards in disgust. Increasingly ashamed to be British. Not only is entire nation suffering time-warp poisoning by its own cows, and allowing nurses to be forced ever nearer the bread line, but next thing Mr Darcy's rightful Best Actor Award is given to an oversized detective who has been turning in the same performance for about a million years. Unbelievable. Especially when Mr Darcy had taken time off from responsibility of running the estate at Pemberley, bothered to shave off his sideburns and turn up to Grosvenor House looking like a perfectly normal modern person. Real reason for turning off, however, if being honest about matter, was fact that Mr Darcy appeared to be sitting next to an extremely attractive dark-haired, modern-day girl. Elizabeth Bennet is one thing, but had always had feeling that were Mr Darcy to transmute to modern day his obvious choice would be me, not this horrible modern- day trollope usurper.

Just called Tom who said not to panic, as they always shove all the most famous people together at awards ceremonies, so to assume immediate seated proximity implied going-outship would be to assume Jeremy Paxman was going out with Jonathan Dimbleby, Sir Richard Attenborough with Sir Peter Ustinov and so on. Hmm. Unconvinced, was just feeling things had got about as bad as they could get, when the phone rang.

It was Dad.

"I'm sorry, Bridget. I'm afraid there's been some rather bad news," he said.

"What? What?"

"Your mother and Julio are wanted by the police."

I want my dummy.