It had to happen – at some point, I would be called upon to St John’s Wood to babysit the sports from hell – my two nephews, Patrick and Harry.
Their school annoyingly had an inset day today, so while the world and his dog ferried their offspring to a new school term, I was in a taxi over to their house to help my brother out.
The call came late last night while I was on my way home from a beautiful dinner in Knightsbridge with an equally excellent ex-excellent who had requested a high-class escort for a date while he was staying in London. I was in the taxi alone as dinner didn’t become a hotel stay, so I took the call. God knows I wish I hadn’t – but when one of your relatives rings you late at night, it’s usually for a reason. Jason begged and pleaded with me to do my sisterly duty as the child-minder had stomach flu, and Mum and Dad had just taken a city break to Madrid. What could I say other than that thaSuresure, I can be with you at 8.30 a.m’.
And I was.
Patrick came hurtling out of the front door before I had as much as stepped up to the front gate. He explained that mummy had just gone to work and daddy was waiting for me to arrive before he went to his job in the “big tower” – Canary Wharf to you and me. As it happened, Day was also in a panic as their new Labrador puppy had taken a shine to one of his best work shoes and was trying to retrieve it before it became a salivary, sticky shell of a shoe. Harry was sitting quietly at the dining room table, working his way methodically through a bowl of cereal and raised his eyes, let alone his face, to acknowledge my arrival.
As my brother departed, promising that my sister-in-law would be back at 2 pm, he mentioned that the puppy would need a walk soon before he chewed anything else. I eyed my new shoes and Nicole Fahri jacket and thought I’d do that quickly.
So, with the kids dressed and the lead on the dog, we set out for a stroll. Both kids thought taking Bonnie across London’s Regent Park would be a good call and kept her pretty occupied with a tennis ball before smells in the hedgerow attracted her attention, and the kids thought it would be a good idea to try and climb a tree. I was tearing my hair out within minutes as Patrick skinned his knee on the tree trunk and Bonnie rolled in fox poo. ARGH!
So back we went and thanked god for a sunny day; I decided to get out of the house and have a water fight with the dog to try and get rid of the smell. I borrowed a pair of dear brother’s jogging bottoms as designer jeans, plus an over-enthusiastic mutt doesn’t marry well.
Thankfully, my sister-in-law arrived home at 2 pm as promised and took over. She found the four of us in the garden, sipping lemonade, and commented that I must do this more often. I just smiled weakly, ruffled Harry’s hair and thought not bloomin’ likely!