An awful lot has happened. I would tabulate but I haven’t the necessary skills. So a list must do.

1 John is back, the sweetheart, and almost his first enquiry was after the progress of my book. “Not great,” I told him and he seemed genuinely disappointed. He has started school and Peony and I take him in the mornings. I suppose that makes him permanent. His mother is toying with Morocco, apparently.

2 Peony introduced me last week to a pasty young man with very thin, white hair.

“Mum,” she said, “This is Alfons. He’s my new sexual partner.” She said this in his presence.

In his presence, I told her: “You see, why did you have to call him your sexual partner? Why the sexual? It’s really not necessary. I mean, are you trying to draw a distinction between him and all your many business partners?”

“Don’t be sarky. No, I’m just stressing that I’m having sex again. Good innit?”

We both looked to Alfons for his endorsement of her good fortune but he remained mute.

3 Mother has given up telling me she’s going to move into an old folks’ home. We both knew it was just talk and I’m glad it’s all over. She told Peony:

“Guess what, sweetheart? They’ve found a cure for my condition. I have improved enormously. (Though I’m still frail of course.) ”

“Grunma, that’s absolutely superb news. How clever of them and of you.”

Later on, when we were alone, Peony said to me: “How funny. I’d always assumed she’d made it all up. So she was genuinely ill after all. Well I never.”

“Yes, well. Doctors, eh,” I said.

 4 Doctors, eh. Doctor Lorenz has called me once more, “to see how the old girl is coping with the bad news that she’s fine”.

“Is that really why you called me?” I asked, my heart in my mouth.

“No, of course not. I wondered if you wanted to go out to the cinema or indeed a restaurant. You might not want to join me in a restaurant, however, and I would understand that. A cinema is awkward, isn’t it. A walk? Is that an odd concept? A walk? I rather like a walk, actually. Erm… a museum, perhaps. Lots to talk about in a museum. Nothing personal necessarily. Something sporty? Badminton?”

“Any of the above,” I snapped at once. “Just anything.”

5 Nobody knows about Dr Lorenz. There’s nothing to know anyway.

6 Charlton stayed one night then fled. I don’t know how he copes with such a nomadic lifestyle. Apparently he’s sought out an old girlfriend. Mother is, of course, bereft.

7 Peony has just this minute told me that she has an announcement to make. Alfons – who is part Swedish, did I tell you? – is at work right now and anyway doesn’t live here (though I’m sure that’ll change at some point) and she has been up in her room all morning, tapping away at her lap top.

“It’s about you, Mum. You and me. I’ve been dossing around the Internet seeing what’s what and I’ve come up with a truly inspired idea. In one swift move I will solve all our problems.”

“What problems?”

“Just sit down and hear me out.”

So that is what I’m about to do.

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