EPISODE 39 – and for a moment, 40 is perfect

MY mother called at 7.49am, reminding me of the details of forty years ago and the agonies I’d caused her. I think she meant just at that moment. But I could be wrong.

When the subject of my 40th first arose we were three. I feigned indifference but enticing beach holidays, a football match against Nick’s XI and dinner and a party for friends were all on the cards.

Everything changed with “David, I think I’m pregnant.” Uncertain as to the twins’ prospective state of health, plans were shelved. Dinner with Nick and his current squeeze reared its head, only to be quashed following Emma’s anger at my modest unsecured loan to my oldest friend. According to Juliette, Emma was contemplating more extensive celebrations until quite recently but Emma assures me that Michelin-starred luxury à deux is the order of the day.

With the children in the capable, crime-fighting hands of the Dynamic Duo of Maria and Gabriella, we headed out of town. Chauffeur-driven, although that was a mixed blessing as we had to stop to change a tyre. But as we enter the dining room of the eighteenth century manor, I realise that the tyre change was a ruse to delay our arrival.

For here are the Dynamic Duo with the twins. And Nick, with a beautiful woman. Sir Roderick and Lady Emily, Juliette and my team. My parents and Emma’s. Businessmen, bankers, politicians and editors. Caroline Davison and even Sandy. Then I recognise a couple of apparently ageless schoolteachers; weren’t they already 60-something when they taught me 20-odd years ago?

As I turn to Emma, amazed and delighted, Noel bursts from the throng. “Happy Birthday old daddy!” The room erupts and with my life arrayed before me, I realise that, for this moment at least, it is perfect. City Dad will continue next week. For previous episodes of City Dad, see www.cityam.com.