Tom and Betty went away on a jolly to visit friends last weekend - I really didn't feel like going (very stressful week) and so Dolly and I stayed behind. And for the first time ever, I spent the night in our house, with no other adults present.
I spent all of Saturday mentally preparing, and trying to hypnotise myself into not being scared of the bleating sheep, the rustling trees, and the people hiding in hedges. I had to wait until dusk when the pesky chickens had retired into their hut so that I could lock them up before I could retire to bed myself. Because I was on high alert, mine and Betty's newly-installed homemade scarecrow, next to the chicken run, gave me the shock of my life and with heart pounding I ran back to the house, locked all the doors, hid all the keys, turned all the lights on, took a swig of rum, and went upstairs with my new box-set of Benidorm, an Easter egg, and Heat magazine.
From my bed, I nervously watched dusk turn into darkness and kept giving myself pep talks. I reasoned that it would be pretty unlucky to get burgled on the one night I was alone in eight years. Plus, I wasn't actually alone, I had Dolly sleeping soundly in her cot next door, but she isn't even two yet and wouldn't be that much use during a break-in crisis - though saying that, with her Phil Mitchell thuggish tendencies, she would probably be a hell of lot more use than me.
Still I was scared so I decided to sleep with the lights and the TV on in the bedroom - I found a channel showing snooker, so decided that would be calming enough to sleep through. At 2am I woke to the sound of balls being potted, and Dolly crying. Spotting an opportunity to join forces against the unknown terrors outside, I went straight to her and asked if she wanted to come into my bed. She said 'no'. I took her anyway. I turned the lights and the snooker off and cuddled up to an annoyed Dolly.
Next thing I knew it was 6.30am, Dolly was fast asleep and as far away as possible from me in the bed, and it was light. I felt so unbelievably relieved we had made it through the night, and although I had had the help of Dolly, the medicinal rum, the snooker, and all the lights, and had hardly slept, I felt this was a real breakthrough.