The girls and I went to Camden Market yesterday, where we kitted ourselves as our fantasy versions of ourselves. I got this new outfit to wear when I do shows – top hat, dark blue 60s Italian mac – so that I looked how I want to be: a cross between Charles Dickens and the Cat In The Hat – but I didn’t get the red silk scarf I really wanted. “Why not?” the girls were asking on the train. “Oh,” I explained, “my subconscious was saying: ‘You’ve got two things already: that’s quite enough, Young Man!’ For some reason that made them guffaw. (They were partly tickled that my subc’ calls me ‘Young Man’. “You’re more than forty, Dad: surely you should be Old Man!”) But also they were amused that my private voices were rude to me. “Aren’t yours?” I asked, genuinely surprised. “No!” said the middle one. “When I’m settling down to sleep, the voice in my head says things like: ‘Well done, you’ve had another great day today, you clever, lovely girl!’” Even the youngest one agreed. “Sometimes I say things to myself like: ‘Don’t worry, you can do it!’” I was still thinking about this after I’d gone to bed. (After ten minutes of them riffing on their favourite joke. “Go to bed, Old Man!” the youngest would say, then she’d cackle at her own wit). But once safely under the sheets, I was still marvelling that, somehow, their internal voices are actually nice to them. How did that go right? I actually think this is the highest goal of parenting – to achieve that. I think I should award myself that red silk scarf. An old man must have some pleasures. What do you reckon?