I am regarded as an airhead. The scantiest mishap is used as corroboration against me. There was that time, for instance when I found I'd carefully soaped a block of butter in the washing up bowl (this was not my fault: the Vicar had slipped it into the butter dish while it waited in the queue of dirty dinner plates). The time when I decanted a hot tray of oven chips into the laundry basket (perfectly excusable; oven and washing machine sit side by side); the time I sent my son to school with an unfilled sandwich, poured orange juice into the cafetiere and the occasion last night when I poached two eggs in a waterless pan. 'Couldn't you smell the burning?' asked the Vicar incredulous.
It's true that if I had properly marshalled my faculties I would not have left the car keys in the door all weekend or opened smalltalk with the Bishop with an account of a neighbour's breast implants. And it affects me as much as my family when I visit Budgens to buy bread and forget to buy bread.
What my detractors don't realise is that these confusions are the result of a furious intellect. Like all mothers I have the mental scope of an oligarth. While assembling the school lunch boxes I am simultaneously clocking the number of baked beans left in the tin in the fridge, assessing the rain clouds bulging over the sheets on the washing line, mentally scanning my wardrobe to effect the transformation of the 8-year-old into a Tudor peasant for school history day and conjuring opinions for the Vicar on the 'theology of place'.
When, on frigid mornings, the school rings to complain that my children have arrived without coats I point out that my brain has spent the dawn hours tussling the opaque login of Parentpay, diagnosing the brown growth blooming on the kitchen vinyl, outsmarting the patient-proof telephone menu introduced by our local surgery and improvising an emergency definition of an isosceles triangle.
A mind sagging beneath a burden of digits - the children's current shoe size, three month's worth of impending birthdays, the eleven-year-old's next hospital date, the Vicar's blood pressure readings and the latest price-per-litre at the three local petrol stations - cannot be expected to focus reliably on domestic trivia. I am explaining this to the 11-year-old who has found her sock drawer full of mens' Y-fronts. 'You wouldn't even remember to put your shoes on to walk to school if I didn't remind you,' I tell her, and I have a brief, awed vision of how the household would disintegrate without me to mastermind it.
Then a familiar stench silences me. I've confused the oven knob with the grill and the smoke alarm joins in the wails of anguish at the charred lumps that were to be our supper.
Are there any other airheads out there? If so, congregate companiably here and tell me your finest moments.