If I only had a brain …

I distinctly remember having a conversation, some time ago, in which I said, ‘Well, I won’t forget that – it’s the day before the twins’ birthday.’

Unfortunately, that’s all I remember. I can’t recall who I was talking to. I can’t picture where I was when I said it. And I haven’t the faintest recollection of what it was I arranged to do. Tomorrow.

So if anyone’s expecting me … sorry!


L’etat, c’est moi (trans. Look at the state of me!)

So, there I was, minding my own business in the middle of Whitehall, the kids were warmly wrapped in a cosy sheet that just happened to have the 1st article of the Declaration of Human Rights painted on it. It was, to all intents and purposes, a perfectly ordinary Sunday.

Through the throng, there came a little man. ‘Quelqu’un qui parle Francais?’ he pleaded. ‘Personne?’

Well, me – obviously. I do. I have a string of translations to my name – fascinating stuff, too. Thirteen volumes. If you want to know anything at all about robot spot welding, I’m your woman. CAD/CAM – easy peasy. Remote control and proprioception – pas de probleme. Of course, this was all about 20 years ago, but still. So I stepped forward.

‘Oui, m’sieur. Je parle Francais. Je peux vous aider?’

Well, it transpired that he was not a Frenchman in distress. What he really wanted was an interview for French radio on what was going on. I was now in too far to get out, so plunged on – recklessly.

It’s amazing, isn’t it, just how blank your mind goes when someone puts you on the spot. Particularly in another language. I think I may have said that Gordon Brown was a ladle. And I’m pretty certain that I expressed nothing but disdain for the people who were carrying the Olympic teatowel that day.

I forgot to ask him what channel the interview was going out on. Probably just as well. But if anyone did hear it – please, don’t tell me what else I got wrong.