I have been practicing my mothering skills this week, which I define as listening, saying too much, listening again, fretting, trying to advise, not being listened to, saying the wrong thing, playing United Nations, then regurgitating the whole lot in frustration to DH in the privacy of our own home.

First there was Dad – in a state of apoplexy about losing his pension, house and livelihood due to corporate greed, the central heating blowing up (again), upcoming government being all the more untrustworthy and corporately greedy than it was before and the unmarried status of my sister. Try giving advice to someone who claims that every time something disastrous has happened he’s always seen it coming but never know what to do about it; and that he blames his nervous anticipation on his Mother, who took him to see a fortune teller on Blackpool Beach when he was eight.

And then there was my poor, anxious sister who I had to talk out of a hole, having been driven it to it by my anxious Dad and his concerns that she’s not married, can’t arrange her taxes, let choose between skimmed and semi skimmed milk.

In the middle of the week there was the friend I met for a drink who is having a terrible time with baby making which, for once, doesn’t involve issues of fertility – rather the perplexing, psychological issue of the two of them simply not being able to have sex. A combination of historic problems and her partner’s recent diagnosis with diabetes, their thing has been made a planet load worse by the pressure of baby making sex. It’s got so bad they are now in therapy and what could be less sexy than talking about your most intimate sex secrets to a fifty year old woman in a paisley dress and half moon glasses?

Throw in a load of clients and their complete mismanagement of behaviour and manners, and you’ve got yourself a mother party.

Luckily for me I can style out my 2ww and escape from the responsibilities of said mothering skills by going off on a writer’s retreat for the next week, which is more than I can say for my best friend who, having just spoken to her, is being driven so insane by her newborn that she’s also considering therapy.

No phone, no blackberry, no tv, no internet; until the beginning of May I will be taking refuge from all responsibility under a warm duvet somewhere no one can find me.

Over and out.