I have known Carolyn all my life. We were born in the same building, just 44 days apart. For many years, she wasn’t so much the girl next-door as the girl next-door-but-two.
Carolyn was the first woman I ever slept with. Unfortunately, we were in a pram and less than a year old at the time. Still, I reckon it sort of counts.
When I was little, my mum knitted me a bright yellow pullover, which I really liked until Carolyn came round to the house and asked mum why I was wearing a life-jacket (her eyesight has never been particularly good). I refused to wear the pullover ever again.
When I became interested in girls, Carolyn, who was—how can I put it delicately?—well developed for her age (I’ll never forget the time she took me bell-ringing), became, along with Cheryl Ladd, the chief object of my adolescent preoccupations. Despite being incredibly shy, I was getting along quite well with her, or so I like to believe, when I made the big mistake of introducing her to Irish Mick. Mick had no regard whatsoever for the time-honoured Principle of Hands Off, I Saw Her First, and went on to make such a nuisance of himself that Carolyn very soon refused to have anything to do with either of us. Thanks for that one, Mick.
It was Carolyn’s fault that I only got a B in ‘O’ Level Chemistry: you just try revising covalent bonding when the girl you’ve got a major crush on keeps practising her gymnastics in the back garden three doors away!
I almost lost track with Carolyn when we went to different universities, then I bumped into her again at a party in 1991, and she immediately asked me for a golf lesson (Carolyn’s mind works in very strange ways). I gave her the lesson, and we have been good friends ever since.
Once in a blue moon, we get extremely drunk together. On one such occasion, in 1992, Carolyn tried to take sexual advantage of me (oh yes you did, Carolyn, don’t try to deny it, I have photographic proof).
More recently, Carolyn has turned into what can only be described as a runaway baby machine, generating three sprogs (with a little bit of help from her chap, Howard).
As I always knew would be the case, Carolyn turns out to be a damn fine mother. In the unlikely event that I ever have any kids of my own, I’m going to give them to her.