Everyone - except me - is talking about the must-read bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey. I was briefly excited, thinking it was the latest Farrow & Ball catalogue for the minimalist middle-classes. Now I discover it's a sort of DIY manual for repressed housewives. I can't say I'm keen. I'm comfortable with my repression and night-times are occasions for catching up on back issues of Gardeners' World rather than wading through a stranger's exhausting erotica. Mummy 365, however, has invited fifty bloggers to share their own parenting fantasies for the next cyber sensation: Fifty Shades of Parenthood. Now that does appeal, for fantasies I have aplenty, especially one, which goes something like this:
Nerving myself against the familiar surge of shame, I study it properly for the first time in months. It is dishevelled, matted with slime trails, a far cry from the alluringly-trimmed attraction that has, in my younger days, given so much pleasure to so many.
Years of child-rearing and middle-aged fatigue have killed off the passion. At the end of a long day I would just as soon lie down with a novel as face such vigorous demands, and now it reeks of neglect. I know that I have to rekindle the flame that I feel still burns deep within my suburban recesses if I am to become once again the woman that I was. It's just that, at my time of life, I need to do it in the morning before fatigue saps my suppleness, and in the mornings there are the children...
I do not want their minds sullied with my longings. The Vicar, unsuspecting, takes them off to Dunkin' Donuts. I have unfettered hours before me and I clench each of those precious moments in sweaty palms as I grab the emergency supply the Vicar keeps by the bedside and hurry to the place where I know I can find gratification.
There is a moist ripeness that is, even to my practised senses, almost indecent and temptation rears all around. I thrust at the luxuriant growth, my eager fingers stroking first a rigid smoothness, then, above it, pliant, clammy folds. Closing my eyes, I inhale that once familiar musk. Memories of past indulgences float guiltily before me. I know beyond all doubt that, despite the clamouring of my conscience, I shall yield.
There is that moment of euphoria as I take possession, and that furtiveness as I pay my dues, hoping that that the Vicar will not guess my betrayal.
Back at home, I hurry through the preliminaries. I trim and tidy the unkempt tangle, pick off the globs of slime and, sinking my fingers into the humid depths, I gently widen the hole. Then, with a sigh of satisfaction, I insert my trophy through the bushy growth.
It is extraordinary how a hybrid tea rose can revitalise a jaded border. Sated now, but shamed, I ready myself to explain to the Vicar why his £12 of parking change has vanished from his bedside bowl.