The Bloke, July 8: It’s the day the Tour de France passes my front door. And I’m not there to see it.

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WE are at my parents’ house for their Golden Wedding anniversary party – on the day, as I have pointed out more than once to anyone who will listen, that for probably the only time in its history the Tour de France virtually passes my front door.

It turns out we have my sister to thank for this. My mum and dad’s actual anniversary is not until September, but she suggested they have their party now as, and I quote, “it never rains on the last weekend of Wimbledon”.

So while just about everyone I know is lining the Headrow or Scott Hall Road, I’m shoving mini-roast beef and yorkshire puddings on to baking trays and cramming them into the oven.

True to form, I am the last one to get their turn in the shower, so that by the time I emerge in a towel from the bathroom, the first guests have already started to arrive for the party.

Even worse is the fact that the proliferation of windows in my parents’ house means the guests walking up the driveway can probably see me.

I decide to get changed in another room for more privacy, so start walking down the hallway – only to realise that people are already sitting in the garden and so can see me from there as well.
I shuffle back into my parents’ bedroom and pull the curtains closed to protect my modesty. I hurriedly pull on my clothes and then remember that my latest batch of canapes need to come out of the oven.

I quickly tug the curtains open again, knocking an ornamental plate off the window sill and breaking it.

When I reach down to pick the broken pieces off the carpet, I notice some strange red fluid gathering there. It’s blood from my thumb, which I’ve managed to shred open on the sharp fragments of china.

Finding my mum peering into the oven, I revert to being a six-year-old again.

“Mum, I’ve cut my thumb,” I whine. “Oooh, and it’s time those canapes came out.”

The next four hours are spent piling more party food in and out of the oven, ferrying platters round the 90-odd (some of them very odd) guests and sneaking the odd swig of whatever alcohol I can lay my hands on.

Once the last guests have gone and most of the debris has been cleared, we sit down and watch the camcorder footage the Missus has filmed of me and my sister giving our joint speech.

Never the best with a camcorder, the opening minutes would give the early scenes of Saving Private Ryan a run for their money in the motion sickness stakes.

Then we come on to my dad’s speech, which is a touching tribute to my mum and their 50 years together.

He’s just building to the conclusion when, from off camera, drowning out my dad, comes the voice of my daughter.

“Mummy,” she bellows. “I done a poo.”

WATER TREAT: The river at Otley full of people in pedalos and rowing boats.

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