MAN’S WORLD: A broken promise...

According to the Urban Dictionary the meaning of ‘on a promise’ is quite simple.

You have arranged to – or at least expect to – have sex with someone in the near future. And by George, so I had.

My wife. Well, obviously my wife.

Tom and Jessica still away at university – for another week at least.

And yes! Ben doing his Duke of Edinburgh expedition. Deliver him to school at 8am on Saturday; collect him at 4pm on Sunday.

A delicious, sensual weekend. Just the two of us. Now what did I do with the energy I had in my twenties...

But first of all there was Ben’s packing. And of course, his catering arrangements.

“Are you sure you’ve got your snacks?” No reply. “Ben – your snacks. Or shall we tell school you were too busy on the Xbox and could you possibly stay in a hotel instead of camping?”

“I told you, I don’t feel well.” And to be fair he didn’t look well. He’d been off school on Monday and Tuesday but he still didn’t seem much better.

“I’m going to bed for an hour.”

And the unthinkable happened. A 15 year old boy willingly abandoned the Xbox and climbed into bed.

He wandered back downstairs an hour later – still not entirely focused on his packing.

“Have you got your inhaler? You should probably take it seeing as you’ve been ill.”

“Yeah, yeah. Somewhere. Stop worrying.”

Eventually we did. I dropped him off the next morning – and then I shot into M&S. Something special for tonight – always provided it contained plenty of vitamin E. That was the one for libido wasn’t it?

Not that my wife wasn’t enough, he added hastily...

Fish then: they were – so to speak – swimming in vitamin E weren’t they?

So calamari to start with: Gastropub fish casserole for the main course and – yeah – dark chocolate desert. An aphrodisiac feast.

We’d be young lovers again instead of middle-aged parents.

Jane would find me irresistible.

Providing I held my stomach in...

“You go and change,” I said. “I’ll cook. Dinner’ll be at about six.”

“Oh wow...” I said at six o’clock. She looked stunning. I slid my hand...

“Something’s burning,” she said.

Damn it. But even the greatest chefs can be distracted. I pulled her to me...

“Is that your phone?” Yes, it was. “You’d better answer it.”

“Alright. But I’m not really thinking about payment protection insurance at the moment.”

A number I didn’t recognise.

And someone I’d never heard of.

Then he said the words all parents dread. “I’m phoning from school.”

My heart lurched.

“It’s Ben.”

Another lurch.

“He doesn’t seem to have his inhaler. And we’ve got a note that he should have it with him...”

His inhaler? I was about to seduce my wife.

“It’s school,” I said to the seriously hot woman next to me – now sadly transformed back into a mother.

“No inhaler. Can he manage without it?”

“I had to give it to him in the middle of the night. Didn’t I tell you?”

“We’ve got a note,” school was saying. “If he hasn’t got his inhaler...”

The implication was obvious. No inhaler, no D of E expedition.

My choice was equally obvious.

Drive to the campsite and bring Ben home.

Or drive to the campsite and take his inhaler.

“I’ll put my dressing gown on,” Jane said.

“You can do more than that,” I said.

“It’s 40 miles away. I won’t be back until nine. At the earliest.”

“You’d better put all that fish away then.”

I sighed. A very long sigh. Fish, vitamins, libido, anticipation.

I turned back into Dad and shoved them reluctantly into the freezer...