I like to boast that I spend fewer than five day a year in London so much do I loathe the place. But as, bad, luck would have it I am drawn to the capital today on personal business. And thus when my soon to be 16 year old daughter, known as Olaf, called to ask if I was free to attend her parents evening - which happens to be tonight - I was able to say yes.
Olaf's mother, Big Nose, is ,it seems, away on business and thus someone else has to go along to be told how clever and charming our daughter - who has just won a 6th form scholarship, is. With her father's brains and her father's charm clearly dominating the genes of Big Nose, how could there possibly be any other outcome? And for the avoidance of doubt Olaf does not have a Big Nose either.
This will be my first parents evening for 13 years and I am sure it will be fun. But then the calls came in. you will be clean and smart won't you? You will have a bath? FFS this is ridiculous. I realise that all the other Daddies at this posh Girls school in North London (Big Nose pays the fees) are investment bankers and City lawyers who are - like Romans of old - washed down thrice daily in lavendar water by East European slaves, or EU migrant workers as they are called today. I cannot compete with that.
But I was able to reassure a panicked daughter late last night: I have shaved ( now twice in 18 hours), showered ( twice in 12 hours) had my hair cut, bought new black jeans and am wearing a new FabIndia shirt and a coat that is just a few months old. I will polish my boots and buy new smart laces when I arrive at Paddington shortly. Okay I won't look like an investment banker but this is as smart as I get.
And just for Olaf's sake I will try my hardest not to offend liberal elitist sensibilities in Hampstead later with any wisecracks about what a good fellow Donald Trump is, the joys of Brexit or how great it is that folks like Mrs May and Madame Le Pen are breaking glass ceilings everywhere these days.