Saturday 16 March

9st 1. Alcohol units 3 (g, steady). Cigarettes 10 (good round number). Calories 2,242. Instants 2. No of correct lottery numbers 0 (poor).

Noon. Although am Singleton, responsibilities for family and loved ones weighing heavily. Awake to answerphone trauma: worried message from Jude saying Tom has gone awol again and huffy message from Mum saying would I call her at "my earliest convenience..."

Oh no: have forgotten to send Mother's Day flowers. Quickly start telephone onslaught on entire florist population of Northamptonshire but all say too late to deliver. Resolve to make up tomorrow with surprise surprise (disguised as lunch outing) to Grindlesham Hall Hydro where will smugly show Mum how to use saunas, steam baths and jacuzzis which did not exist in her day. Called Mum. Not in.

12.05 Aargh. Just called Jude. Apparently Michael saw Tom in Ladbroke Grove Wednesday midnight, lurking oddly with hand over mouth then had crossed street to avoid saying hello. No subsequent reply from Tom to repeated concerned messages. Has not called Jude and Shazzer either, nor suddenly realise, me all week. Tom is depressive and has disappeared before but even more reason to be worried. Jude said she'd call Simon who lives near Tom and get him to go round.

12.30 Simon has hammered on door and rung bell for 15 minutes but no reply.

3pm Really panicky. Think about binliner MP who died with chocolate orange segment in mouth. Called Jude again. "Do you think we should get the police to break in?"

"I already rang them" she said (couldn't help feeling secretly hurt that had not asked me first.) "They said it wasn't particularly surprising if a young single man was out on Saturday morning".

4pm Guilty and traumatised about Tom. We are all so busy with own lives, would it be possible for one of my friends to be so unhappy that they ... Oh God.

4.30pm Brainflash! Have Tom's spare keys under sink from when he went to Ibiza. Quickly rang Jude and Shazzer and all agreed to go round together. As we turned into Tom's street a dark shocking hideous note seemed to strike inside me. Began to sink in that after all the baseless neuroses, hang-ups and paranoias that constantly make all our waking moments a misery, something serious, tragic, terrible and real might have happened that no self-help book, no articles, no amount of theories or positive thinking could ever make it better.

None of us spoke or looked at each other.

"Maybe you should ring first?" whispered Sharon as I lifted the key to the lock. Jude looked at us quickly, then pressed the buzzer.

We stood in silence. Nothing. She pressed again. I was just about to slip the key in when the intercom said: "Hello?"

"Who's that?" I said tremulously.

"Who'd you think it is you daft bat."

"Tom!" I bellowed joyfully, "Let us in."

"I'd rather you didn't come up, hon."

"Don't be such a prima bloody donna," bellowed Shazzer. "Let us in."

There was a pause then the buzzer went "Bzzz".

As we got to the top floor and saw Tom standing in the doorway all three of us cried out ... His whole face was distorted, hideous, yellow and black, the centre encased in plaster.

"Tom," I cried rushing up and putting my arms round him. Jude burst into tears. Shazzer kicked the wall. "Don't worry Tom," she growled "We'll find the bastards who did this."

"What happened?" I said, tears beginning to plop down my cheeks.

"Er, well ..." said Tom, extracting himself awkwardly from my embrace. "Actually I er I had a nose job."

Later. Grrr. On way back home after three Bloody Marys resolved never again to worry about trivial matters or be annoyed by loved ones, eg Mum. Could hear phone ringing. Tore up stairs, emptied contents of handbag on floor to find key and threw self across room to phone at which point phone stopped. Had just gone into loo when phone rang again. Stopped when got to it. Then started ringing again when went away. Finally got it: Mum.

"Oh hello darling guess what?" she trilled. "I'm taking you to have your colours done."

"What?" I muttered.

"Yes, darling, Colour me Beautiful. I'm sick of you wandering round in all these dingy slurries and fogs. You look like something out of Chairman Mao."

"But I don't want to be coloured."

"Oh don't be silly, darling, you're not coloured. Daddy and I are both completely British."

"Mum. It's Mother's Day tomorrow. I thought I'd take you..."

"Now come along Bridget. I don't want any silliness," she said in her Genghis Khan at height of his evil voice. "Mavis Enderby used to be all miserable in buffs and mosses, now she's had hers done she comes out in all these wonderful shocking pinks and bottle greens and looks 20 years younger."

"But Mum, I don't want to come out in shocking pinks and bottle greens."

"Well you see darling Mavis is Winter and I'm Winter but you might be Summer like Una and then you'll get your pastels. You can't tell till they get the towel on your head."

After 57 minutes listening with not the slightest meaningful grasp of what she was on about I managed to interrupt the flow and invite her for Mother's Day lunch.

"Oh, darling you are sweet but I always go to Grindlesham Hall with Julio on Sundays - George and Molly Ricketts go. Do you remember Molly - used to be married to Whatsisname Onions from the Rocklough? Such a hoot in the jacuzzi. Why not send a donation to charity or something darling? Anyway must whizz. Byee!"