'Freddie, love, Mummy's just landed in the playgound; she says have you got your ESB speech stuff with you?'
'Fuck, someone cover my arse while I dig my way to Australia with a ruler. Pete, can your parents adopt me? Anyone got the Childline number? Quick, over the the woodwork room and I'll saw my leg off for sympathy.'
The minefield of choosing a Godparent is, unless some crass cosmic joke occurs, firmly behind me. In my Schiaparelli-pink-tinted retro-vision, I gaze fragrantly into the cot at the sleeping bots and bestow gifts in human form. A children's book editor (imagine the presents). A brace of titled/well-connected good souls (one eye on the Gap Year). A drummer in a rock band (swallow the feminist cant - son, meet the groupies). A French rugby player (no justification necessary). A staunch Catholic (hedge those bets). In the Pampers-panicky reality that was my life all those years ago, I provided exactly this because they were all people I knew would say 'yes', could be counted on to turn up at the church on the right day, fuel me with champagne at the party afterwards and exchange delightful conversation with the assembled starchy grown ups.
The ensuing decade has proved an interesting one. Almost all of the above are still in birthday-remembering play. But they have been joined, incrementally, by several others. Official and Unofficial Gods who bring gifts I never thought of. Cricket obsession. Adoration of velvet. The love of spending hours cooking an Indian feast from scratch. The art of lolling about on a bed disecting one's wardrobe and sneakily adding unsuitable items to it behind mummy's back. The talent for inapropriate smells during a private tour of Tennyson's library.
Rose's Godmother is dropping in this weekend to share her love of historical novels, gossip magazines and Petit Bateau. I will send them out together to wander the sunny harbour and drink hot chocolate. Freddie, the Colonel and I will be at home. Working on the speech-with-visuals he is giving to the English Speaking Board examiners next week. That he has NOT been 'working on' since before Easter. That he didn't even get out of his bag when he was at Edward's last week. That remained untouched this past weekend when he was winning a football tournament. He will be somewhat surprised when I get him after school today as he thinks he's at a cricket game.
Might need a silent spell for my gob.