My son, Jackson, had his first birthday last week. As my daughter, Parker, put it: "He's gone from none to one". He shares similarities with the Queen. Not a penchant for wearing silly hats; rather, that he has at least three birthdays. His proper birthday is spent at home with close members of the family and a couple of his special friends. The next day sees a slightly bigger event where the village and local dignitaries are ushered in to pay their respects and leave presents in exchange for some warm sherry. He finally has his official birthday at the weekend where godparents and a large group of similarly young friends come round for smoked salmon roulades, champagne and games. He's only one and he's got more friends and hangers-on than I've amassed in a lifetime. By next year he's going to have his own PA who can organise it all.
Not only are Stacey and I completely knackered but we are also bankrupt and we have had to sell two polo ponies to finance the presents. To be fair, neither of us plays polo but it is a useful country tip to keep a couple stabled and ready, just in case.
We'd stupidly forgotten that a one-year-old will hurl expensive presents into the bin and spend all afternoon playing with the wrapping paper. I was especially narked when he ignored my working, scaled-down model of an Aston Martin which can do 45mph in favour of a paper bag from Clintons.
I got into some trouble later in the evening by trying to drive said pygmy vehicle to the pub and ended up being arrested by the local police who did not believe my claims that it was a lawn mower and I was doing the verges. They have yet to make up their minds whether they're going to prosecute.
Unfortunately, this was not the only encounter with the long arm of the law last week. Thursday was my five-year wedding anniversary and I'd planned a suitable brownie-point winning night at Barnsley House, our local celebrity hideaway. I had to rush up to London for a meeting but had left loads of time to get back for the romanceathon. Everything was going fine until, on my way back, just outside Oxford, my car was slammed into by two students, going too fast and not paying attention (unbelievable for students!!). My car was a write-off but I walked away relatively unscathed. I had to hang around for the police by the side of the road as car after car hooted their horns, many shouting, "HELLO, HELLO, no I'm in a car accident, no, it's a total write-off, it's rubbish," and laughing uproariously as they zoomed off. It was all fair enough really and I took it like a celeb, donning a big pair of D and G sunglasses and trying to hide in a hedge that was really prickly and hurt a lot.
When the police finally arrived and found me sitting in a hedge I think they were a tad suspicious and insisted on me taking a breath test along with the pimply student. It was at this moment, as I stood beside a busy dual carriageway, next to a police car with its lights flashing, blowing into a breathalyser that my old headmaster should choose to drive past. His car slowed as he rubber-necked and then our eyes met. In the split second before he gunned his pathetic motor and drove on, silent communication was intense. I tried to let him know that it wasn't what it looked like. He indicated that he had always known that I was trouble and it had only been a question of time before I was brought to justice. I stopped blowing into the tube and tried to shout after him but the policeman thought I was trying to avoid the breath test and got quite testy. I passed and was finally allowed to hitch-hike towards a belated anniversary evening. Somehow I don't think that little Jackson's application to my alma mater will get a sympathetic reception. They fuck you up your mum and dad. Well, your dad anyway.
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