The Antidote to the Aphrodisiac

Awesome! Everything planned.

Tom at uni? Check. Jessica? Ditto. And Ben safely at work for five hours…

The romantic meal to end all romantic meals. “You get changed, darling. I’ll cook.” Oysters, asparagus, a few flakes of chilli on the meat, dark chocolate to finish with. There’s a man who knows how to Google ‘aphrodisiac food…’

“Just the two of us on Valentine’s Day,” I mused. “How many centuries since that happened?”

“I can’t wait,” my wife said, smiling seductively. “Your flat stomach, your rippling six pack, your rock hard abs…”

No. She didn’t.

That’s what’s called artistic licence. And a middle-aged man’s fantasy. What she actually said was, “Don’t forget we need to spend the day wallpapering Ben’s bedroom.”

Sadly, she was right. We’d finally stripped away the sharks, the sailing boats and the last vestiges of his childhood. Now it was time for the muted blue and grey that came with being a man. I was duly despatched to the garage to scrape five years’ worth of snails off the pasting table.

Jane was right. If we didn’t get on with it Tom and Jessica would be back for Easter. Thank goodness Jessica couldn’t see her bedroom now. Piled high with Ben’s furniture, clothes and books. You could barely open the door…

Yep, that was the plan. Spend Valentine’s Day wallpapering. Working happily together.

Then Ben to work, a relaxing soak for my wife, large gin, a squeeze of lemon on the oysters. She’d be putty in my hands…

“I’ve had a text,” the object of my affections said when I’d finally rendered the pasting table useable again.

“Who from?”


“That’s nice. How is she?”

“She’s broken two toes.”

“What? How?”

“Watching a hockey match. She wasn’t paying attention. The ball hit her foot.”

Ouch! Is there anything harder than a hockey ball? I once stopped a cricket ball with my testicles – but a hockey ball? Straight on the end of your foot? No thanks.

“Has she been to the hospital?”

“Yes, of course. But she says she needs looking after. She’s coming home for the weekend.”

“Yes, obviously. I’ll collect her at the station. Probably have to carry her to the car. My poor, sweet – ”

And then I stopped. Because of course the poor, sweet girl needed to come home and be looked after. There was just the small question of where she was going to sleep. And her father’s plans for Valentine’s Day…

“Ben, I need your help.”


“Because your sister is coming home for the weekend.”


It’s fair to say that our youngest son doesn’t currently see the return of his sister as a cause for unbridled celebration. Like all youngest children, he’s got used to having the house to himself.

“We need to move everything back into your room.”

“But then you’re going to move it back into her bedroom when she’s gone.”


“So why don’t you make her sleep on the sofa for three nights?” Brotherly love, eh? I explained that parents tended not to do that, especially when the child in question had two broken toes.

That was three days ago. The poor, sweet girl has now limped up to her – remarkably tidy – bedroom. But not before asking what I had planned for Sunday lunch.

“What would you like?”

“Sunday roast. With all the trimmings.”

What else? So much for my plans. Last time I checked mashed potato wasn’t an aphrodisiac. Not that I’d be needing one…

Thanks for reading this post. If you enjoyed it – and you’d like something light and “very, very funny” to read – you can buy the ‘Best Dad I Can Be’ sample book with 27 of my favourite posts covering all the years I’ve been writing: it’s all of 99p on your Kindle. Alternatively the first chronological book, ‘Half Dad Half Fish’ which covers the time when the children were 9, 7 and 4 is available here


  1. I’ve been hit a lot in the knacker bag throughout my life, so I know the pain us googly-endowed humans can go through, yet my first instinct is still to laugh. And I thankyou for that.

    • Fast bowler, Ronnie. Very fast. Just short of a length outside leg. Went back to pull it for four. Bottom edge. Direct hit. At the risk of ending my marriage, far more painful than childbirth… And you’re welcome: posts are meant to make you laugh – however painful the memories may be…

  2. Brilliant, don’t worry there’s always next year!

    • You’re not suggesting I have to wait until Feb 14th 2017 for another romantic moment!? Surely all the planets must align some time before then…

  3. The gods conspire, to send you to madness first. And not Madness as in Madstock which would be acceptable.

    • “Those whom the Gods would destroy they first make mad.” You’re right, Barry – knew the kids would get me in the end…

  4. ‘Always a laugh on a Monday morning! Both my husband and my son are only children and I always tell them that they don’t know what they’re missing having no siblings…!
    But every now and then I tell them my childhood stories of old which they have heard a million times before such as “how-my-younger-brother-got knocked-down-by-a-uni-student-when-the-ice-cream-van-came-round” story. I was 5 and my brother was 3! How about the-day-that-I-made-my-older-brother-fall-off-his-chair-even-though-his-foot-was-in-plaster story. I was 9 and my brother was 12. Or the-day-that-I-won-the-traditional-family-board-game-Xmas-competition-and-ended-up-being-the-only-person-with-boxes-of-chocolate-that year-and-didn’t-even-share-them-with-my-brothers story! I was 11, the only girl in a family that never has girls (even now), and utterly selfish lol!
    Ah, good times!

    • Ah yes, the bliss that was a family board game. “Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Nope, it’s the Monopoly board flying through the air because [name deleted] has landed back in jail…” And glad I’m not the only one that tells the same stories over and over again. “Is it going to end differently this time, Dad?”

  5. You nail it every time ! I sometimes feel that parent blogging is all about the kids when they are small … those parents have no idea do they ? With great freedom (and older kids) still comes great responsibility….

    • Well thanks for the first part of that comment, Sue – and you’re right. I remember turning to the wife and saying, “Expert at changing a nappy now. Reckon I’ve got this parenting lark sorted.” But it was great to see her – even if your correspondent spent a slightly frustrated Valentine’s night…

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