I've Got Work To Do

She cracked. She finally cracked, and thank God it wasn’t me. Life would have been hell.

(Doing the Sunday Faith show on BBC Berkshire must be taking it’s toll – that’s God and hell in the opening two sentences.)

The past couple of months have been, shall we say, the busiest ever in the Coia household. I have been working seven days a week for too long, so it’s fallen on my wife, Debbie, to arrange all the outside events that make up our lives at this time of year. June normally consists of my birthday, Father’s Day, plus the separate birthdays of our two girls, and this year it’s been complicated by the fact one turned Eighteen, and the other Twenty One. Special arrangements and parties had to be organised, as well as rooms tidied for extended family to come and visit.

I always know it’s summer when I hear my father in law, walking around the house and whistling loudly. As he gets up really early, you can imagine how wonderful that is!!!

On top of this we were invited to THREE weddings this month within the space of just under two weeks. Presents had to be bought, outfits arranged, travel plans made. And it’s all fallen to Debbie to make the arrangements as I haven’t been around. She’s done it with aplomb, until today when she finally cracked.

The weddings were all great. The first, in Glasgow, had waiters who burst in to song during dinner and had us all standing on our chairs singing Volare. One hundred and thirty voices joined in, all surprised that they knew the words to the song. “Volare, Oh Oh, Cantare, Woah Oh Oh Oh.” Apart from one person. We were sitting at breakfast the day after when Austin, one of the bride’s friends, nice but dim, commented on the singing. “It was great, but who is Larry, and why did we have to vote for him?”

Wedding number two went without a hitch, although I had to rush from doing the Breakfast show at BBC Radio London. Having got up at three thirty, I had a quick snooze in the car at the Register office to waken up and find my wife had taken a photo of me, snoring and with mouth wide open, and she’d posted it on Twitter. I didn’t make the same mistake at the third wedding even though, again, I had to be up early for work.

My birthday was a treat for me with a surprise afternoon tea in the country at a manor house, followed by a lovely dinner. As we checked out the following day, my wife followed a couple in to their bedroom thinking it was the lift. At least that was the excuse she gave me as I looked on open mouthed. She still won’t tell me what the couple said.

Father’s Day was special as Debbie had organised the girls to make all my favourite things for dinner before I went to work at night. Jewellery had been bought for the girls as presents for their own birthdays, and Debbie even found time to organise a surprise treat for Luisa’s Eighteenth. Her friends were told to meet us at later today, at the Kingston Dock on the Thames, where Debbie had chartered a boat to take us on a five hour picnic trip. A total surprise for my daughter – and all of us sworn to secrecy. Until now.

Today, Debbie finally cracked.

As we sat at Breakfast, cards open and presents gratefully received, she said “and later when we’re on the boat....”. We all looked at Luisa, hoping she hadn’t heard, but in vain. “So mum, we’re going on a boat are we?” Debbie’s face coloured and we all sighed and laughed, grateful it wasn’t us who had given it away. If I’d done it I would have been sleeping in the spare bedroom for a week.

So, the secret’s out, Debbie has cracked, and we’re off on a boat this afternoon. But there’s one thing I’ll never forgive, and it’s not giving away the secret.

My father in law is now walking around the house whistling “Messing About On The River”.