Last week Lydia's kids (seven year old twins called Lily and Rose) were off school so she was round every five minutes with them because they were doing her head in. My daughter Emily who is three worships them and was happy to play teachers and pupils in her room with them while Lydia rambled on about how she needs a new career and that she's thinking of becoming a life coach even though I can't think of anyone who's life is more off track.
Then, last Thursday morning Lydia pops round with the twins who were dressed in matching sailor suit type dresses and tells me she's off for the day to Margate. I thought, great, a bit of relief from her rabbiting but unfortunately, no, she wanted me to drive her since her car was in the shop being worked on. I live with my boyfriend Greg but he's away for work at the moment so I can't even use him as an excuse to not get involved in her hairbrained schemes. I mean Lydia is quite funny, don't get me wrong. I just didn't want to go to Margate with her. But Emily immediately started begging me to go so I caved.
I start driving my car with Lydia directing me every second of the way while she was talking to the man fixing her car on her mobile.
"So you say I need new brakes? Six hundred quid. You are joking! Well actually maybe I do need them, every time I break right now it sounds like a sow giving birth." Honking laughter.
I can attest to that - it's true, her brakes do sound like a pig birthing a litter of twelve.
Suddenly she grabs my wheel and starts yanking it right. "Rox turn! You want to turn NOW!"
"Flipping hell Lydia!" I say, narrowly avoiding mounting the curb. In the end it was easier to let Lydia drive.
So Lydia drove the rest of the way to Margate, or at least attempted to. But after only about half an hour she started to panic.
"Have you ever had trouble with your brakes?" she says.
I turn down the Justin Bieber blaring out the radio and perforating my eardrums.
"No I haven't, why?"
"Because I'm having trouble braking. I press my foot down and nothing happens until a few seconds later."
"Turn up Bieber!" screeches Rose.
"Me want Beaver!" parrots Emily.
I try and ignore Lydia who's going on about the brakes not working. Until she literally rolls right through a red light while stomping on the brakes.
Lydia is hyperventilating. I feel totally numb which is a bit wierd considering we almost got killed.
"I'm telling you your brakes don't work!" she says.
"But I've never had any trouble with them."
As luck would have it we pull off the road to an auto repair shop and after Lydia raves at them, begging them for a service, they say they'll have a look at it.
So now what? What are we meant to do to entertain the kids?
We end up in a roadside caff because there's nothing else around. The kids order chips and squirt them and themselves with ketchup.
I order a chicken panini which, when it arrives, contains some kind of liquid cheese and some chicken the shade of a dead man's skin. It also reeks of dead man's armpit.
"Oh my God," I say, trying not to spit it back on my plate.
"What is it?"
"This is salmonella on a plate, that's what." I took all the meat off the ciabatta because it was inedible and tried to eat that but it was infused with the disgusting flavour so it was no go.
On the way out the girl on the till asks me if everything was okay.
"Well no, the chicken was wierd."
"It was turkey."
"Really? Anyway it was off."
So she gets on the phone to the kitchen "Check your turkey," she says. "There might be something wrong with it." Yeah like maybe it's left over from the Christmas buffet!
Narrowly avoiding death by rancid turkey we go back to the auto place and I pay a bill for
£80. They say there were air bubbles in the brake fluid but that they've bled the brakes and they are now working okay.I decide I'll drive now, and - get this - all the way to Margate there is not a blinking thing wrong with the brakes. I'm beginning to think Lydia might be stark raving mad.
Three hours after leaving London we arrive in Margate and the kids were happy enough scrambling about on the beach while I pop a couple of aspirins and lie down on the sand pretending to be asleep while Lydia changes into a thong bikini and prances about, showing off her rock hard abs and limbs the colour of sinewy roast chicken.
But on the way home Lydia drives the end bit and it's the same story. She starts saying the brakes don't work but I'm tired of listening to her. I bid her goodnight outside my house and then I notice that when she parks the car she doesn't even put on the brake. It's then I realise:
SHE HAS BEEN RIDING MY CAR ALL THIS WAY WITH THE PARKING BRAKE ON.
I don't say anything.
What could I say? That she is a moron?
Maybe that's why the brakes on her car are ruined - because she's ridden them into the ground.
"Thanks for a lovely day!" she cries, bundling out the twins. "We must do this again soon!"
"Absolutely!" Not unless hell freezes over first.
"And get your brakes checked out!" she calls out.
So all in all a great day out. Lydia's buggered my brakes and I narrowly avoided death by turkey.