Iseem to use this column at least once a month to make some kind of apology.
Usually it’s to my employers, or my long-suffering wife and family. But this week I need to say sorry to a higher power.
Don’t worry, it’s nothing to do with the election of a new Pope. In fact it’s nothing to do with religion at all.
No, the people I need to make amends with are Lancashire Police.
Before you get thinking I’ve landed myself in bother – I’ll tell you now it’s nothing that juicy.
I’ve not been clapped in irons and hauled before the magistrates – in fact I’ve done nothing wrong at all.
The offender is, on paper at least, far more innocent that I.
In fact it’s my two-year-old Girl Twin.
Children, as parents know, are fascinated by what they can’t have. And some things are definitely off-limits.
The car keys, the laptop, the TV remote, all need to be kept away from little hands.
The latter, I hasten to add, also needs to be kept away from My Good Wife, who last week put it through a delicates cycle along with the duvets.
Oh, and you can add to that list the telephone – thanks to last week’s little incident which could have landed us in bother with the law.
The Twins have tried answering the phone before, so there wasn’t a great deal of shock when we found her in the lounge, chatting away to some poor soul. But who would stay on the line listening to a toddler babble?
The answer came when My Good Wife tried to apologise to the unwitting caller.
“On no, we haven’t called you,” said the voice on the other end.
“You’ve called us.”
At this point, our lead suspect was the redial button on the handset. With any luck she was in the middle of ordering a mighty meaty with extra pepperoni.
But no, the mystery voice continued.
“It’s the police.”
The shock, the embarrassment – the naughty little thing!
Thankfully those kind folks down at Bonny Street were very understanding, but I really am sorry to have wasted their time when there are real emergencies to deal with.
Now the phone is very much out of reach of little hands. But it’s getting harder – especially now the two of them conspire to cause mischief.
Sometimes we catch them after the event – like the time I spotted a chair pushed up against the bookshelf, where an empty fruitbowl sat. Ten yards away were two sheepish toddlers surrounded by half-eaten pears.
On another occasion I caught them in the act, Boy Twin holding the chain while Girl Twin climbed fearlessly on to the kitchen worktop – making a beeline for the biscuit tin.
I know, right now they don’t understand right from wrong – although the cheeky grins you get when they’re found out suggest to me at least one of them has a good idea.
But that’s little consolation when your wallet turns up in the bin, surrounded by potato peelings, or someone’s made a decent attempt to draw a dinosaur on your book.
They should know by now water belongs in the bath, not on the walls, food goes in the oven, not toys and, above all, the phone is strictly out of bounds.
I hope that at least is a lesson we can drive home – before there are blue lights – and a knock at the door.