Darling Freddie, how too too ghastly. Make sure Mummy doesn't fob you orf with any non-U drugs. Get morphine and cocaine and ketamine and a gin fizz and tell the Ritz to send you oysters and plovers eggs. Put it all on my account.
I had been reading the correspondence of Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh. For those Nancy-lovers among us, its more fabulously spiteful social commentary; bristling with in-jokes and shot through with her misguided loyalty to the bastard Colonel that would never marry her.
My next memory is of lying in a high-sided bed, through whose slats I could see another patient. I was aware of a voice berating Nancy and begging her to dump that sod Palewski, to stop giving money to her pointless soak of a husband, and to write at least seven more books set in Paris.
When the nurses in the corner shouted 'Please, be quiet!' for perhaps the tenth time, it dawned finally that it was me talking, that I was not chatting with Nancy Mitford, but lying in a cot with my arse on show, holding hands with the lady next to me. I whispered "so sorry." She asked me, "Are we alive?" That stumped me and I drifted happily about between worlds until the South African appeared to take me upstairs for more counting games and to check I knew my own name.
Last week, Freddie hurt his arm in training. He sat covered in mud, blood and glory as we eavesdropped in horror on the lady in the next cubicle, describing how difficult it was to go to the loo with all those blisters.
I have spent many hours at A&E with various muddy lads over the years, and fully expected them to strap up a nasty sprain and send us home. Instead, as soon as they saw the X-ray, they talked about operating that night, about allergies and weight and the options of pinning and plates and all sorts of scary stuff. Eventually, they plastered him up and we have to go back every few days for the next few weeks for consultations and more X-rays and time off school, and using special software instead of a pen, and having all the girls argue about carrying his lunch tray.
There's a still a chance they will operate. he told me this afternoon, from under a pile of discarded socks, football magazines and empty cereal bowls, that apparently you can end up quite bonkers after a general anaesthetic, and how brilliant it feels to get so spectacularly wrecked just lying on a bed. "Nonsense," I said with my poker-faced-hypocrite Mummy face on. "There's nothing wonderful or dangerous about it. You won't know a thing."
Photograph: Thurston Hopkins/Getty