“Hello? Marmaduke, my precious, is that you? No, it’s daddy. Yes! Daddy. How are you? ... Last night? Oh, er, I couldn’t come home, I’m afraid. Daddy was most awfully busy. Did you see Part Two of ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’? Good... No! Don’t come out in the cold, darling, there’s really no need – I’ll make my own way back very soon, but thank you. I mean, I’ll come home when I’ve finished off this meeting, or rather, when this meeting has finished me – with me, I should say, ha! ha! Is mummy at home? I’d like to talk to her, please. Hello, Diddums. It’s me. No, Cruncher... from where? From here, of course. It’s a police-station, actually. No, don’t worry – it’s alright. I was in a meeting, with friends. I told you last night that I was. Well the meeting finished rather abruptly at eleven o’clock, and by eleven fifteen everybody had gone home and the, er, caretaker was locking up the premiseses... Me squiffy? Not at all. Well actually, yes. They found me in the gutter... No, there wasn’t any water in it... perfectly comfortably, thank you.

“Darling, don’t worry, really... Well, a frightfully nice biker chappy in a splendid studded jacket – I remember being fascinated by the design... Sorry, yes, well he picked me up and sling me over hi panniers, apparently, and so here I am. In the police-station. What have you got for lunch?... No, no, utterly charming. They treated me very well. By the book. Queen’s regulations. Absolutely professional body of dedicated men. Sobered me up before you could say The Queen Mum... How? Threw cold water over me... No, actually, that’s the splendid thing, you see, very thoughtful. They had removed my coat and jacket beforehand, you see... No, as I was saying, nothing got wet... Yes, darling, they took off my trousers as well... Yes, darling, everything.

The policeman was an awfully quick-witted chap - still is, as a matter of fact – he recognised me immediately. Gave me a blanket to keep warm... In fact, it’s okay. Seems to fit, er, quite well. Have the boys done their homework? No, I’m alright now – just a bit of a headache... Darling, this is not the time. We’ll talk about it when I get home... You are absolutely right, of course. I shall never touch another drop. Cross my heart and hope to die... Yes, I know I did, and I wanted to keep my promise, believe me, I tried, but I got sort of swept along on the tide, what with everybody else having a little drink, you know, - by the way, I found that book you were asking for. I bought volume one for you and ordered volume two. They say it will take a few days to come through – it has been reprinting, that’s why you couldn’t get it before... Darling, don’t worry. Love you, Diddums. If anybody calls, tell them I’m stuck in a meeting, brainstorming.

More stories