Listen up: So the kid has a few moves. I take my hat off to him

'Oh my God," Sorcha goes, "it's actually getting worse?"

Her face and neck have broken out in psoriasis, which she’s putting down to switching quinoa brands.

“Could you not cover it up with something?” Honor goes. “Like, for instance, this?” and she throws her my old ski mask from the Christmas we spent in Verbs. Then off she goes, laughing in a really, like, cruel way.

Only Frank Sinatra could have held onto a grudge as enthusiastically as a South Dublin girl.


Sorcha’s there, “Get dressed, Ross. They’ll be here in 15 minutes.”

I’m there, “Who are you talking about?”

"Why do you think I've up since six o'clock this morning, baking? I invited Flidais and Lindsay over – just to clear the air. I don't want there to be any, like, weirdness between us?"

We're way beyond the point of weirdness. I've known for some time that Lindsay – my daughter's obnoxious brat friend – had some kind of creepy childhood crush on my wife. But last week he professed his love to her from the stage during a Mount Anville and Willow Pork joint production of a show called Heroes. The problem is that Honor is sort of in love with Lindsay herself. I think we're going to be living with the, I don't know, ramifications of this one into our old age.

Half an hour later, they arrive – Lindsay and his old dear, who’s a bit of a fox and I’m only mentioning that as background.

Lindsay, hilariously, shows no embarrassment whatsoever about what happened. In fact, the first thing he does when Sorcha opens the door is to pay her a compliment. “Sorcha,” he goes, “your hair is beautiful. It looks like it’s raining gold!”

So the kid has a few moves. He doesn’t even acknowledge the fact that her face and neck are covered in Pixie Lotts. I have to take my hat off to him, as a gift of the gab merchant myself.

Flidais is there, “Lindsay, why don’t you go and play with Honor while we talk?”

Then down to the kitchen we go.

We end up having a laugh about the whole thing. Flidais actually apologises to Sorcha for any embarrassment she suffered and Sorcha goes, "Don't be silly, Flidais. When I was a kid, I had a crush on Nelson Mandela. The day he was released from prison, I turned to my mom and I was like, 'Oh my God, he is so hot! One day I'm going to, like, marry him?'"

She never did, by the way. She ended up with me. It’s no wonder her old pair think she settled.

Flidais goes, "Well, I'm a little bit older than the two of you. For me, it was Erik Estrada. I had his posters all over my wall. I used to actually cry watching CHiPs!"

"For me," I go, "it was Heather Locklear. On Friday nights, I'd have my bath and then Dynasty would come on…"

Sorcha’s like, “Okay, T.M.I., Ross,” because she can get very jealous.

Flidais goes, “I think the best thing to do, in Lindsay’s case – if you’re okay with this, Sorcha – is to just ignore it. It’s one of those things I’m sure will eventually pass.”

My feelings for Heather Locklear never did – just for the record.

Sorcha calls Lindsay and Honor downstairs for something to eat and she lays out the results of this morning’s Great Vico Bake-Off on the kitchen table.

Lindsay horses into the cardamom, coffee and pistachio Swiss roll and says it's the nicest cake he's ever tasted, while Honor glowers at Sorcha across the table, like she's Niki Minaj and her old dear is Lil' Kim.

“Your face is getting worse,” she goes. “I don’t know if anyone else has noticed, but my mom has got some kind of disease at the moment.”

Sorcha’s like, “It’s not a disease, Honor. It’s a little bit of psoriasis because Donnybrook Fair didn’t have the usual quinoa.”

Honor’s there, “It looks – oh my God – gross, even through the inch of foundation you slapped onto your face to try to cover it up.”

I’m like, “Honor, you possibly shouldn’t speak to your mother like that,” doing the whole Tough Love Parenting bit.

She goes, “Er, you were the one who said it was like watching someone paint a peddledash wall.”

I’m there, “Yeah, as a private joke between me and you, Honor. As Ronan says, no one likes a tout.”

Lindsay, by the way, has spent the last 60 seconds or so just sniffing the sleeve of his shirt. Totally out of the blue, he goes, “Sorcha, I took some of your Agent Provocateur, if that’s okay. I just love the smell.”

And we all just sit there in silence, pretending not to be creeped out by this, until Flidais eventually goes, "It is getting worse, Sorcha – your, em, psoriasis, I mean."

I look at Sorcha’s face. Her rash is now literally fire engine red and it’s spreading rapidly across her cheeks to her ears and down her neck to her chest.

She fans herself with her hand and goes, “I’m actually getting really hot,” and then she goes, “Ross, I might need a shot of something. Will you drive me to the Swiftcare Clinic?” because we’re obviously VHI positive.

As Flidais and Lindsay leave and Sorcha goes upstairs to grab her cor keys, I get this sudden flash of memory. Yesterday, I caught Honor coming out of our bedroom, holding a bottle of what looked very much to me like scouring powder.

I was like, “What are you doing?” and she went, “I was just giving your bath a bit of a clean,” and I was like, “Ah, fair focks, Honor,” always determined to see the good in the girl.

But now I’m suddenly thinking the worst.

“Honor,” I go, “did you put something in your old dear’s, I don’t know, moisturizer?”

And Honor smiles at me and goes, “Oh my God, how could you think something like that of your own flesh and blood?” ILLUSTRATION: ALAN CLARKE