"Do you know where my cheque book is?" I asked my mother, who was kneeling at the altar that is the coffee table with the day's Guardian spread out upon it.
She remained silent.
"Ahem," I continued. "Mother?"
She acknowledged my presence for a while.
"Loath as I am to distract you from your worship, I was wondering if you'd seen my cheque book?" I pressed.
"Have you tried your blue box?"
I had a brief vision of the possibility that I may somehow have acquired a TARDIS, but this possibility was dismissed when she clarified that she meant my mini-chest of drawers. This being the one that she bought from IKEA, assembled, painted blue and then stuck a picture of my Year 2 class on the front to show it belonged to me. Many has been the hour when I take a look to marvel at four things: how ridiculous I looked, how young Robinson looked, how 80s my teacher's haircut was, and the lengths to which my mother will go to make me as embarrassed as possible.
I opened all the drawers in search of my cheque book. It was an adventure - and also one which, I had forgotten, contained a lot of evidence of my sex blogging activities. I had letters from Durex and other companies thanking me for reviewing their products, a multitude of business cards from various erotic people and services (all mixed up with other cards - expired railcards, old debit cards and the like), and two condoms in a Game Boy game case (my emergency supplies: designed to take with me if sex is on the cards, although I've never used it like that). Intriguing, I thought.
After extracting two cheque books with no cheques left inside, I opened the top left drawer to find it filled with lube. Not an actual drawer filled with liquid lube, evidently... but little sachets of lube: different flavours, sensations and colours. A veritable pick'n'mix smorgasbord of lube. It reminded me of a kaleidoscopic lucky dip that I'd once stuck my hand into to pull out a Poddington Peas shrinkle. Except with lube.
"Two cheque books without any cheques in," I announced to my mother. "Never mind, I shall have to order one from my bank, and as it turns out you can't do that online."
She grunted, by way of responding. It only then occurred to my mother that she must have re-packed said blue box of wonders, considering the fact that neither cheque book nor stack of various cards had been there the last time I saw it. She much have used it as a dumping ground. I thanked my good fortune, therefore, that I'd chosen to carefully take with me my soft porn DVDs, Lunchboxxx, vibrators, cock rings and REV 1000.
And then it hit me. My mother had said, at some point in the past, that she'd put a load of condoms into the box. In the top left drawer. Where I assumed they'd be. In fact, she said this just after we moved out, when my parents tidied up under my bed.
I left my parents' house with three things: a couple of empty chequebooks, a handful of requisitioned DVDs, and the knowledge that my mother has no idea what a packet of lube is.