Honestly - I open my mouth and nothing comes out but a strange (very male sounding) croak. I keep answering the phone and scaring people who clearly think they have accidentally dialed through to the bowels of hell and are speaking to some kind of demon.
I promise you it has not (solely) been caused by shouting at the kids - I think there is also some kind of illness afoot.
Anyway - it's making life hard - 2 year olds running fast in the opposite direction don't respond particularly well to frantic arm waving and a vague croaking noise.
That aside - life has been going rather strangely very smoothly. I've gone through several days without being hideously embarrassed in public, exposing myself in an unseemly fashion or having my balls pinched. Bravo.
So instead I shall, once again, reflect on times past or more precisely, birthdays past. You see in about 2 weeks it's my birthday (take note) and birthday aren't what they used to be - which, quite often, is actually a good thing.
For my 16th my best friend organised a huge surprise birthday party for me and filled a barn with all my closest friends. The only problem was, when I walked in, everyone was chatting, playing pool and laughing in groups and I thought 'oh right, how odd! What are all these people doing? God I actually feel quite shy and intimidated by this crowd so I will mumble hello to them and go and sit in the corner and keep myself to myself......'. Everyone presumed I had the hump and didn't like the party and it was only about an hour later that somone actually informed that I was in the midst of my own private party...... No worries though - several litres of White Lightening later things hotted up - a little too far actually because someone suggested strip poker and my friend's mum found me hiding behind the door in nothing but my smalls and promptly informed my mother she had a 'serial undresser' on her hands (Ok I confess, it wasn't the first time - don't worry, I've grown out of it now).
For my 17th I faintly haven't a clue. I know it was a very good summer - so good that it's all a vague haze.
My 18th? My 18th was lame! Apart from my parent's deciding that the gift every 18 year old girl on the cusp of adulthood REALLY wants is a forest-green man's dressing gown from M&S there was the small problem of the night time entertainment.
I decided to go out in the local town with some friends and sample the novelty of being served in pubs and clubs legally. The problem was the rest of the world seemed to have had the same idea and everywhere was a full to 'if your name's not down, you're not coming in' capacity.
And so it was that we ended up at 'NightOwls' possibly the most dubious disco in town (Ok not possibly - definitely). You can imagine our horror when we found that even NightOwls was full. You can not possibly spend the night of your 18th birthday standing in a car park so we tried all the usual tricks to get in e.g. 'we were in there earlier, we just took my friend out because she has an asthma attack, our bags are in there! You have to let us in!' and 'we're friends with the DJ he's expecting us' (how many times must bouncers hear these lines?).
Anyway it was no go but not to be disheartened we put our cunning into an alternative plan.
You see the night club was attached to a hotel and restaurant and linked to it via a walkway (albeit a walkway only for staff to use). So if we went into the hotel and found the way into the walkway - surely we could find a 'bouncer-free' way into the nightclub!? Result!
We did get a few strange looks as we entered the rather quiet and elderly restaurant of the hotel. A member of staff stopped us so we explained we were there for our grandad's 60th and just looking for our parents..... At that point we spotted the doors to the walkway and slipped through. We could now see the doors to the nightclub in front of us - glistening like the gates to the golden world beyond. A world of dry ice, sticky carpets, men called Steve (I had this thing where I always attracted a man called Steve - I was a living Steve-Trap for several tragic years) and women turning to violence in the grips of Diamond White..... And then a hand fell on my shoulder and someone asked where on earth we thought we were going.....
We spun them the 'it's our Grandad's birthday and we're lost' line again (quite how many Grandaughter's attend 60th birthday meals wearing 6 inch platforms and skirts which don't cover their knickers I don't know, but I think it gave the game away somewhat) and were told to 'follow me' as he turned to lead us back from whence we came.... (lesson to be learned there - never turn your back on the accused).
At which point we all looked at eachother and, as one, ran like the wind in the opposite direction.
As we burst through the doors we got a few strange looks but we didn't care. WE'D DONE IT! WE'D BEATEN THE SYSTEM (erm, well OK, we'd broken into a dodgy nightclub - but it felt GOOD!).
We hit the dance floor, laughing and squealing with joy are our cleverness.
Until circa 20 seconds later when a fleet of bouncers armed with walkie-talkies swarmed the dancefloor and, after a brief struggle, carried us aloft, through the thronging masses, back past the queue and out into the car park.
And we were given a life time ban - which secretly I'd quite like test but I can't. Not least because NightOwls is now no more and the building serves a gym (a terrible loss to humankind I am sure).
So I did spend my 18th birthday party in a car park before going home to my forest-green dressing gown and a bowl of Crunch Nut Cornflakes with the olds in the front of the TV.
If any of you have tales of equally cruddy 18ths then please do share! It would be nice to know I'm not the only one.